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.UMFVRIGHT. 1 88 1. BY G. P. PuTMAM'S SONt* 


In the course of some reading of German history, 
I was impressed with the meagreness of our EngUsh 
literature concerning Martin Luther. As I read I 
made notes; these grew in time, until I found it ne- 
cessary to rearrange and formulate them, and the re- 
sult is this book. Doubtless there is much to find 
fault with in it ; the theologian will miss the details of 
lengthy controversies ; romancers who desire pictures 
in gilded frames may take exception to a narrative 
plain and unadorned ; even more serious defects may 
be discovered. 

Whatever may be the Judgment of the critical read- 
er on my work, I have undertaken in it in good faith to 
stir up some embers hidden in the ashes of the centu- 
ries, that others might light their lamps at this hearth-^ 
stone, and know more of that majestic character who 
conceived the emancipation of conscience. 

That the principles of Martin Luther are the funda- 

iv Preface. 

mental principles of our American Republic there can 
be no question. Surely, then, it is incumbent on us 
who have lighted the beacon of invitation to bid 
'Others come and enjoy with us liberty of person and 
conscience, to know him better. Nor is it only for 
this. The life of Luther is one for which we find no 
parallel in any history, and as such it is worth knowing. 
I have tried to view it from an impartial standpoint, 
to see him as a man among men, leaving polemics and 
the niceties of chronology to those who have tastes 
in that direction. J. H. T. 



I. — Pre- Lutheran Germany i 

II. — Early Days i8 

III. — Novitiate 29 

IV. — Early Trials and Honors 36 • 

V. — Meditations and Anxieties *4i 

VI. — The Journey to Rome 48 

VII. — Wittenberg and its Motive 59 

VIII. — The Indulgence Business 70 

IX. — Luther's Perplexities and Doubts 80 

X. — Called to Account at Augsburg 90 

XI. — Luther's Friends and the Disputation with Eck. ioi 

XII. — The Diet at Worms 113 

XIII. — The Wartburg 13c 

Xi V. — The Augsburg Conference. — Domestic Life 148 

XV. — The Peasant War. — Luther's Death 162 

XVI. — Post-Lutheran Germany 170 

Appendix 185 




THE roads to greatness are ever open; but the 
roads to that greatness which shall confer on 
future ages and nations a permanent gift * are few. 
Great epochs call for correspondingly great men ; 
whether they come through the ordinary channels of 
promotion or project themselves from unexpected 
sources upon the theatre of action, we need not in- 
quire, at all events they come. 

Doubtless the bent of German thought, or even un- 
spoken convictions, will have much to do with educat- 
ing the future man who shall spring to the emergency. 
Why may not the weight upon the heart be trans- 
mitted from generation to generation as well as the 
pouch-mouth or hooked nose, or other physical peculi- 
arity ? Latently it may be ; perhaps passing through 
many generations, unobserved, yet cropping out at 
last when circumstances are ripe for its effectiveness. 
We cannot believe that the leader of a crisis merely 

Martin Luther* 

explodes with passionate impulses ; sonjpthing more 
subtle than passion deals with preponderating error. 

Germany, the great Germany, had for many years, 
centuries even, stood at the right hand of the chair of 
St. Peter, with casque and halberd ready to charge 
upon the unfaithful, or defend against intruders. Her 
knightly men were over the borders everywhere, with 
the name of God and the pope on their lips, inoculat- 
ing other races with the religion in which they had 
been educated ; who yielded not died by their swords. 
Nothing but corruption and treachery at home pre- 
vented the banner of the church from waging over 
the accessible world. 

There was no effeminacy here, no half-service ; 
from their mothers' breasts even they had drawn that 
manful resolution, that fixedness of purppse, which as 
an ally invaluable was destined at last to prove an un- 
conquerable alien. 

A race of workers, by nature and birth aggressive, 
they grew like forest trees, from the olive to the north 
sea, crowding and contending, erecting among those 
hills and dales a population not to be cajoled with 
trifles or subjected by oppression. They fought and 
lugged at each other because no foreign foe had a 
capacity for fighting and lugging equal to themselves. 
Germany was the cockpit of the world, wherein the 
weaker went down and the fittest — fittest for a work 
to come — were surviving. With all this tilting and 
sword practice, at home they were a serious, thinking 

Pre-Liitkeran Germany. 

people, rea^ned carefully and slowly; no develop- 
ment of history, were it normal or deformed, passed 
them without scrutiny. Birth, nature, and education 
endowed them with a chivalrous spirit which spread 
itself at last over the German -speaking world.* 

When other nations were loitering, steeped in the 
emasculating pleasures of Italian degeneracy, or prone 
under the thumb of a debauched court, she, all her 
people, were forging that strong substructure upon 
which was built a future nobleness of character. 

Nut-headed and bull-necked, and with no ostenta- 
tion of purposes, yet how superbly do they bear the 
burden imposed by these centuries of eventful history I 
Reverse or triumph, aggregation or depletion, Ger- 
many goe's on unfaltering in the assurance that prin- 
ciple insisted on must at last rule events. 

Whether it be blind Johann, at the battle of Crecy, 
tying his bridle to that, of the knight next him and 
riding into the fray, or Markgraf George, the pious, ris- 
ing before that Augsburg Diet — year 1530 — where 
Kaiser Karl sat at the head and heard the protest 
against the performances of Corpus Cliristi day, the im- 
pulse, in each case, is identical. Overwhelming con- 
sciousness of right admitted no other action, even 
though it were death for Johann and discrownmcnt 
for the Brandenburg prince. This unselfish independ- 
ence and love of liberty was pervading all that part of 
pe continent whert the German tongue was heard. 

Not in the spirit of rebellion, untainted by those 

Martin Luther, 

social fanaticisms which later on deflected thousands 
from obedience to common law; no madmen were 
wanted in this progressive drama, ^wt with calm cer- 
tainty, if slowly, approached the daylight of intelli- 
gence, like a new revelation, transforming, transpos- 
ing, concentrating the potent forces which soon were 
to work unitedly for the lasting good of a great 
nation. Unity of thought was there, a saturation of 
truth, unconsciously waiting the presence of that vi- 
carious instrument upon which it might instantly 
crystalize and develop. 

Professed public opinion was no barrier to this pro- 
gressive thought, promising to open, as it did, a new 
domain and broader intelligence, disenthralling gen- 
erations to come, giving significance to a language 
afterward to be adorned by Lessing, Wieland, Lavater, 
and even a Goethe and a Schiller. What human ob- 
struction could long withhold a flood like this ? Such 
a revolution was not to be projected by mean or 
desultory influences. The spirit of adventure was to 
have no part in leading events, nor was ambition to 
rule the impulse in that changing hour. Abnegation, 
character above reproach, scholarship, backed by her- 
culean fearlessness and physique, are qualities rarely 
combined, but the coming man must possess all these, 
and more. An athlete commands the respect of his 
vicinity only ; let him combine, however, those essen- 
tials of character which point to a higher manhood, 

Pre-Lutheran Germany. 

and his conquests may be as far reaching as tongues 
.an bear his name. 

The bullary of Kaiser Karl— that young Charles, 
crowned for Germany at Aix la Chapeile, year 1530, 
destined soon to take a leading part in the great drama 
— was a formidable one. The Tiberian hound had 
already scented danger and was quickly upon the trail. 
Germany had just been galled a little by the venture 
of the pope to set Francis 1. on the throne ; before 
leaving the court of assembled princes at Frankfort, 
however, the papal ambassadors were forced to sign 
conditions which bound them to the advocacy of a 
German prince for German soil, offices throughout the 
empire, too must, be conferred on native blood, the 
language of the court — diplomatic language — must be 
either German or Latin, and further, the regnant prince 
must reside in Germany. The demand was pregnant 
with force, for there were soldiers in Germany ready to 
give emphasis to these requirements. 

Here see the national quality making itself effect- 
ive ; the strife for individuality was not to be despised ; 
whatever future developments might bring, policy was 
the controlling power now. Gratuitous patronage of 
Church or State, when it placed in jeopardy the liber- 
ties of this people or collided with their sensibilities, 
was sure to be met with public disfavor. Secular or 
religious, public opinion was directed towards the un- 
obstructed advance of the whole people, even to the 
point of autonomy. 


Martin Luther, 

Markgraf George did not speak for himself alone 
when before that Augsburg Diet he affirmed impetu- 
ously — impetuously but not misunderstandingly — 
" before I would deny my God and his Evangel, I 
would kneel here before your majesty and have my 
head struck off." See that Kaiser of like blood half 
rising from his chair at the burning words, trj'ing in- 
deed to modify their severity ! 

Read it as you may, translate it as you may, it 
meant, we, the German, people love liberty, the ex- 
ercise of our own free will, whether it concern the 
bodies or the souls of men. 

The same spirit wrote upon the banners of John 
th; Steadfast, V. D. M. I. ^,. Verbmn Diaboli Manet 
In Episcopis, The devils word sticks fast in the bish- 
ops — and who but brave men dare utter such heresy. 

Albert's rhyming prayer, too, came of the same im- 
pulse : 

" Das wait der Ilerr Jesus Christ 
Mit dem Vater, der iiber uns ist / 
Wer starker ist als dieser mann 
Der Kom und thu ein Leid mir an. 

" Guide it the Lord Jesus Christ ; 
With the Father who over us is, 
He that is stronger than man, 
Let him do me hurt when he can."* 

We may oppose and disintegrate error; law can 
put its foot upon the neck of mischief and it dare not 

♦ Carlyle's translation 

Pre-Lniheran Germany. 

e ; but popular truth, once started on its errand, is 

Germany — the unlettered Germany of those days — 
.stood by and saw the arts and sciences crowning the 
Italian hills with palaces, crowding them with grace 
and color, the hand-work and head-work of intelligent 
men ; meanwhile the purses of her contributors grew 

All roads led towards Rome ; through them came 
tribute from every hand, building up and beautifying 
that splendid monument of Christian industry and 
devotion. In return she dispensed, with every pos- 
sible show of favor, her pragmatic indulgences, bones 
of the saints, bits of the true cross and miraculous 
reliquaries, holding firmly nneanwhile the conscience- 
strings as well as the purse-strings of those devout and 
faithful ones who paid her homage. 

" Why not do this all at home ? " argued the logi- 
cal German. " Why not educate and erect and beau- 
tify here, have our own books, our own pictures, yes, 
even our own hierarch?" But there was no man 
good enough or great enough to be the hierarch of 
this coming epoch ; no vic<:gercnt to stand between 
them and God; no one but themselves to expound 
(the books they should read with their own eyes. 

There were more parts than one to this grand rev- 
olution ; if it meant protest and reformation, it meant 
aiso revival, rehabilitation; a time from which new 
aflairs should date and pre should be written before 

8 Martin Luther. 

the affairs that had passed. No feeble, timid excep- 
tion, but a manly no ! The vehicle to carry this bulky 
exploit must be a mighty one, must furnish a perma- 
nent motive power also. Juggernaut never tottered 
through its ancient streets with half such a load ; but 
three men were coming to help construct this car of 
Parnassus ; — Coster, Guttenberg, Faust. No concert 
of action, little dreaming perhaps that theirs was to 
be the privilege of sounding through the ages that 
certain note of freedom which goes forth from an un- 
obstructed typography. That charter of civilization 
— the Bible — yet remained within the walls of the 
Vatican, escaping only now and then in fragments, to 
exhibit the monkish craft of brush and pencil rather 
than to spread abroad its Eulogies of truth ; attributes 
of art rather than motives to progress. 

But progress was coming in spite of detention, as 
though by supernatural direction all the forces intel- 
lectual were moving in the ascendant. 

" A certain uncommon and malignant position of 
the stars which scattered the spirit of giddiness and 
innovation over the world," provoked this change, 
says Jovius, writing with the astrological tincture. 
Not so ; no need to go among the stars or look to any 
transcendent source for this radical revolution ; all the 
causes were plain enough, plain and irresistible. As 
wine purifies itself, as nature goes on improving and 
perfecting, so must men unfold and develop, con- 
sciously or voluntarily, with the broadest philanthro- 

Pre-Lutheran Germany. 

py or from selfish motives, for personal or public ben- 
efit; in the course of affairs last things must be best. 
The reformation which engrafted a new branch on the 
Christian stock, was only one of many ; when every- 
thing was ready, the gates were opened for a sequence 
of reformations in which religion, literature, science, 
art, all the intellectual forces were to take part on 
the road of continued progression. 

Even Erasmus did not forget to thank Marguerite 
for two services — " her protection to good literature 
and to the men sincerely loving Christ," because she 
had prevailed on Francis that he should not carry out 
the demand of the clergy and " extirpate the damna- 
ble and insupportable Lutheran sect." Erasmus knew 
that literature once fairly planted was invincible, no 
matter if they built bonfires of books in every street 
and added thousands of titles to the Index expiirgato- 
rius. No autocratic power could command back the 
flood of letters. No power on earth could reinstate 
the secular dictation of Rome where intelligence and 
reason took wings of their own. Were it mere revolt, 
a paltry passage at arms in which brute force alone 
should assert itself, this reformation would have been 
crushed at the outset. Knights without number, 
brave ones too. stood ready for the command of the 
hierarchy, a whirlwind of spears, thick as grain in the 
field, would have fallen upon the disaffected. But 
chivalry weakened, tottered, fell back when it found 
nothing to beat but the winds and no foe save public 

lO Martin Luther. 

opinion, printer's ink and paper. Jousts and tourneys, 
feudal pageantry and crusading troop were doomed, 
vanished into obscurity when that silent but effective 
agent took the field to conquer not the bodies but 
the minds of men. 

Solitary protest could have accomplished no such 
results. " Give me," says the scholar, " not the man 
who dwells long upon the causes, but the one who 
proposes a cure." 

The Roman authority over the consciences of 
men had been long conceded, as well as the carnal 
authority ; its logic was " so long as we keep all the 
learning we keep all the power." 

The ecclesiastical court at Rome was a congress of 
learning, wit and shrewd diplomacy, kept so by far- 
reasoning, far-sighted popes and councils well tutored 
in the secrets that made the Romish church mighty. 
The church of Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons A. D. 177-202, 
was, " the locality of God's spirit ; where God's spirit 
was, there was the church." Later, prelacy sought to 
give it a further significance, loaded this purity of 
purpose with attributes foreign to it, with laws, com- 
mands, threats ; put to the sword all opposing force 
and called this the triumph of Christ. 

However potent the religion of Christ may be, it 
meant to win, not to command, the obedience of men ; 
chicanery has no part in that symmetrical and simple 
story of the gospels. Except for sectarian or selfish 
purposes, no assemblage of men can pronounce the final 

Pre-F^utheran Germany. 

~meanmg of thfse gospels. Distort the figure as you 
will, you cannot avoid the individual interpretation ; 
if you would have free men they must have free wills. 
When Germany excepted to the dictation of Rome, 
this fact premised her reasoning; Christians who pro- 
tested against the assumptions of the great church did 
so on these very grounds. 

The great church must not resort to these pagan 
methods to authority ; cultivated superstition could 
not long lead where enlightenment was breaking 
through. Superstition, darkness, subjugation for the 
people, light, liberty, and license for the court were 
political deformities to be disposed of, attacked, and, 
even by slow methods, reduced to consistent dimen- 
sions. The deeds that were damned among the com- 
monalty were the very ones eating away all but the 
title of the Vatican court; intrigue and excess were 
destroying Its manhood ; the pure church that IrenKus 
would have was foundering in a slough of corruption ; 
rottenness was hiding behind the smoke of censors. 
Was it extraordinary that the odium tkeologicum grew 
farcical and inefficient ? Was it strange that men and 
women, offspring of those found by Tacitus — who him- 
self pictures the character—" There, no one smifcs at 
vice, and to seduce or be seduced is not called fash- 
ionable ; for among the Germans good morals effect 
more than good laws" — was it strange they grew to 
denunciation ? 

Reformation and protestation were only other 

^^mmj^mmim^ ^. ^. „■,■■■ jff 7^1 Jga 

12 Martin Luther. 

names for exaltation. Where honor and dishonor live 
together vice is in the ascendant ; so they struck off 
dishonor. There was no ambitious outcry for a new 
church, no new church was hinted at in the first de- 
claration, but the sequence of events that followed in- 
volved organization, resolved at last into a perpetual 
society of protest. Blind John knew that Cr^cy was 
to be his last, yet unfalteringly pursued the course by 
conscience dictated. Men of like temperament were 
to be more numerous in after years, so had the nation 
been growing up through generations of heroism until 
at last all were heroes. At Cr^cy or in the Diet at 
Worms the character is the same ; inflexibility, equi- 
librium, integrity were the qualities above all. Both 
instances discover the same deliberate ardor ; no self- 
ish purposes to serve, no phantom of adventure, but 
an irresistible, glorious refulgence, this dawning of a 
new era. 

Man's most exalted achievement in letters is the 
mastery of his native tongue. The nation lowest in 
the scale of progress, lowest in comparative civiliza- 
tion, is always that one adding least to the literature 
and research of its time. When the congress of princes 
demanded that the diplomatic language should be 
either German or Latin they struck a note that was to 
resound in lasting benefits to their nation. 

Plainly they wanted the German ; their strength 
and good will was too valuable to be thrown away by 
the Roman court ; policy would grant them their re- 

^est, but prompted by national pride, a desire for in- 
dividuality, it is not Jikely they conceived the possi- 
bilities of the future. Germany was a broad territory 
of mixed dialects. Learned and eminent men who 
could readily transcribe the Latin and the Greek were 
yet unable to write their own language, called it boor- 
ish even, useful only for connmon talk. Back in the 
ninth century it was shreds and patches, but grew 
better as time passed, assuming form and comeUncss. 
The usages of the court must help it greatly, even 
though scholars shook their heads and called it a mis- 
take. German coin was rattling into the coffers at 
Rome, in return the country was flooded with obse- 
quious indulgences; bits of parchment for barter and 
sale by the Dominican friars, who made broad their 
phylacteries to cover the multitude of sins with which 
the ecclesiastical court was pregnant ; abused their 
agency some say — if abuse were possible — over-charged 
a little, pilfered a little, forged a little, in short, grew 
rotten morally — a kind of mortification not originally 
prescribed for the order. Became so obnoxious indeed 
that some of the brothers themselves revolted. 

Yet a large part of the writing of this pre-lutheran 
period was done by these parchment brokers. During 
the ninth century one Otfried of Weisenburg, monk- 
pupil of Rhabanus Maurus — had been industrious 
enough, zealous for his mother tongue, to translate 
the gospel into German verse, " in order that the 
people might read it," it was said. But multiplying 


14 Martin Luther. 

presses were not then available, only one copy for 
these millions to read, so it was shelved along side of 
other precious curiosities. ** Not yet time, not yet 
time,** as whispered Kaiser Frederick — the old man of 
the mountain — when awakened by the astonished 

Germany was not yet seasoned or even these gos- 
pels might have set her aflame. Sometime in Otfried's 
generation the Latin Psalmody and church music were 
introduced by Charles ; an Italian, journeying that 
way, was struck by the rude and harsh notes ; he said 
these people were ** great in body like the mountains, 
their voices rolled forth like thunder, could not be 
modulated into gentler tones.** He was " startled and 
terrified,** accustomed probably to the melliloquent 
accent of his native church. Yet the church organ of 
Pope John VIII — a few years later — was brought 
from Germany and with it a German player who ex- 
celled in his art ; so readily and rapidly did this people 
take to music. 

Give them a chance and they would get away 
speedily enough from their fausUrecht — their fist-law 
— and abandon their " bellowing and roaring.** Dic- 
tation alone hindered the natural growth in any intel- 
ligent direction. Becoming too wise was a menace to 
the supreme power ; such people must be diverted. 
Put forth a bull showing the enormity of this sin ; stop 
this ambition of the people and shed the blood of those 
who promote it. So suffered and died John Huss ; 

Pre-Lutkeran Germany. 

his hand was upon the lock of freedom, but was not 
strong enough to draw the bolt that had rusted into 
its pkce. 

But this expanding intelligence was not dependent 
on any one man, it was among the things inevitable, 
and the one man was only that ore who should give it 
voice, construct that for which the materials had al- 
ready been gathered; a man with fearlessness enough 
and learning enough and good nature enough to work 
right on and counterblast the tempest that was sure 
to interrupt him. 

Let what may be said to the contrary, the Mystics 
and Vaudois were educating the people to the crisis, 
anticipated perhaps this coming man, set their houses 
in order high up in the Piedmontese Alps, and de- 
voutly prayed and watched for the rising of that new 
sun : Illuminati — planting their beacons there in the 
high mountains that others might see and be guided 
thereby. But men were not yet guiding th«ir own craft. 
Too timid they were to push off alone ; some one 
must come with a hearty good will to help them off, 
and say to them, " go there, if the wind be not always 
fair beat up against it, but make your own course." 
These pious men wanted the material that made up 
the people in the country to the north of them. Let 
the tiara put a little more contempt on the German 
crown, and there will be " thundering and bellowing" 
such as shall shake the foundations of St. Peter's and 
deflect the temporal as well as the spiritual power ; a 

1 6 Martin Luther. 

revolution that will involve not Germany alone but 
the Christian world. 

Through the streets of Munich was going that 
poor cobbler boy Hans Sachs, singing hymns " to the 
honor of God." Scholarly men like Frederick and 
Reuchlin and Erasmus were giving tenor to the 
dawning age of liberty and letters. " Time not yet, 
but will be soon" says the gray-bearded Kaiser 
seated within the Salzburg hill. No haste about this 
event, for it is sure. 

Germany had not yet risen from her cradle of 
forest. The Rhine and the Danube, and the Elbe 
flowed on through abundant shade. 

Pliny saw there trees whose broad foliage and 
'* monstrous trunks surpassed by their powerful vitality 
all other wondiers of nature." Had he waited he 
might have seen men of like character hewing into 
this vast workshop of nature, and when they had 
hewed and •cut and cultivated here they were ready 
for grander work. The Thuringia of our day is still a 
wealth of forest, broken here and there by broad fields, 
towns and cities whose foundations reach down to a 
period so remote that history evaporates in gener- 

Travelers go that way, attracted by its picturesque- 
ness, led by guide books — those alder-staves of weak- 
kneed tourists. Up and down through venerable edi- 
fices, along solitary but much frequented foot paths, 
scratching their names on Wartburg, or procuring it 

P re-Lutheran Germany. 17 

they can a piece of Luther's ink blot, renewed at in- 
tervals to meet the public demand. 

This was the back-ground of that great play which 
was to divide Christianity. Germany, France, Eng- 
land, were pregnant with anxiety. Whence was to 
come the child of whom no Elias had spoken, of 
whom all Germany was to be the mother and the world 
the father, no one knew. 



YEAR of our Lord 1483. Every crown in Europe 
subject to the papal sceptre. 

People not altogether in sympathy because they 
were chafing under involuntary burdens. In Ger- 
many the industrial arts were in the first stages of 
progress. In the crownless intervals she was still 
however given over to faust-recht. Predatory knights 
gathered their plunder into hill-top castles, but gun- 
powder was likely to interfere somewhat with blade 
and spur chivalry, while the innovations of Gutten- 
berg and Faust were drawing attention in other di- 
rections, making broader the avenues to learning and 
teaching those who otherwise would not have been 

The German was a man of rude exterior and forci- 
ble speech ; expletives and oaths gave emphasis to his 
utterances ; ever did, and do now for that matter, not 
however, in a casual or blasphemous way, for there was 
fire in his blood. He did not indulge in delicacy of 
expression but nailed his meaning with impressive 
declaration, like Seneca perhaps believing " that fel- 
low who was careful about his words and neat in his 

Early Days, 

speech, to be busied about toys and wanting solidity."* 
No time for nice-mouthed people, this era of disrup- 
tion and difference, no halting for soft words; throw 
out your genteel, mannerly folk ; let them fall back to 
non-combative uselessness for here is a train of cir- 
cumstances to be met by something besides conserva- 
tism and policy. 

Hans, or, John Luther belonged in Upper Saxony, 
in the pastoral village of Moerha, or Moer, high up in 
the Thuringer Wald. not far distant from Eisenach. 
Gretha, or, Margaret Lindeman, whom he married, 
was a serving-maid in the baths there, esteemed much 
for her gentleness, piety and comeliness ; tradition has 
it that she came from Nieustadt, in Franconia, 

Poverty and piety seems to have been the estate 
of this pair, trained up no doubt in that rude but 
devout simplicity which made men and women of 
character if it failed to promote surface-culture. 

Some wind of fortune blew them from their origi- 
nal home ; ambition for something more than peasant 
life perhaps; but rumor has it that Hans was a homi- 
cide, had actually made away with a fellow peasant 
who chanced to trespass on his acreage. Perhaps 
' one of those altercations not uncommon among the 
peasantry but more sanguinary in its results. So they 
came to Eisleben and shortly after coming a son was 
bo rn to them. Concerning the exact date of his birth 
|re seems Co have been much discussion; tradition 
• Scnec. Epial., Lib. I. 21. 

50 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1483. 


and record however incline to November loth, 1483 — 
the eve of St. Martin's — so came his forename. 

John Luther, become a miner here in Eisleben, in 
time had other issue which was rather lost sight of 
behind this majestic first son. He was doubtless a 
lover of wit and learning, tinctured with them to some 
extent himself, for at Melancthon's marriage he, being 
present, sat with the doctors, helenists and savans, 
some distinction in that day of few books. 

Before Martin was a year old his parents moved to 
Mansfeld, where the father grew in importance, came 
somewhat out of the cloud of adversity and peasant 
plainness, was made a town councillor and owned two 
small iron furnaces, though still very poor as com- 
merce measures the man. 

That he was a man of austerity Martin's own 
words assure us ; the family sceptre was a birchen rod, 
wielded mercilessly, no matter how trivial the offense ; 
intervals of exemption from it at home were made up 
by the village pedagogue who believed in the same 
sort of discipline. 

The child was not spared. For the theft of a 
hazelnut his mother whipped him till the blood came, 
and at school he was one day treated fifteen times to 
the rod, nor did he remember it with composure in 
after years, denounced it in fact. " My parents " he 
says, ** treated me cruelly, so that I became timid. 
They felt that they were sincerely right ; but they had 
no discernment of character, which is absolutely neces- 

Early Days. 

sary, that we may know when, on whom, and how 
punishment should be inflicted." 

The elements that made the boy Luther incorrigi- 
ble were the ones that made the man Luther noble. 
Terrorism — ^TartarJsm rather — that had so long worked 
mischief in Germany was instilled in all the German 
blood, inspiring with awe at first, afterward engender- 
ing obstinacy and combativeness ; Tartarism, encour- 
aged by the cunning policy of Rome to make itself 

Luther's manhood, however, rose superior to the 
harsh ordeals of his childhood, remembered only the 
allegiance due to those who gave him birth, and con- 
secrated their memory in his formula of marriage. 
" //<l«j wilt thou take Gretlia?" — and on the death 
of his father writes to Melancthon, " 'tis my pious 
■^uty to weep for him whom the father of mercy des- 
tined to give me birth — for him, by whose labor and 
sweat God nourished me, and made me what I am, 
such as that is — " 

Under such training was the cynosure of the future 
growing up, not like a creeping vine, as it listeth, but 
trained up, tutored up. " ad agtiitione et timore Dei" 
— in the knowledge and fear of God. " Timore" em- 
phatically, for in religion, as in other things, the tartar 
doctrine was orthodox in that day. It was a religion 
of terrors, from omnipotence all the way down to the 
confessional. Phantoms, devils, and the beast of the 
apocalypse, beset Like an incubus this degenerate faith. 

22 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1498 

We may direct men's bodies by force, but some- 
thing subtler than force it is that diverts their minds. 

Luther was six years old, and already quick at his 
books, when he was sent to the Eisenach school ; pen- 
niless, friendless, forlorn ; paying his way by singing 
before the doors of patrician houses, and taking alms. 
As for singing in the streets, that invited no contempt, 
was common in fact throughout Germany. Fortune 
had few darlings, philanthropy fewer, though a certain 
kindliness kept these little people from starving, 
opened the lattice and dropped bread or its equivalent 
into the hands of these singing children ; afterward, 
perhaps, quarrelled for the honors of those who had 
one day begged in the streets. But such is history 
through all time. Adversity is a prompter to better- 
ment when it does not lean toward indifference and 

Four years Luther studied at Eisenach, singing his 
way some, helped more by the " pious Shunamite," 
Ursula Cotta, widow of one whose compassion and 
means had contributed much before. 

Long afterward, looking back through years that 
gilded the distance and wiped out the hungry hours, 
Luther speaks of " Eisenach, my own dear Eisenach.*' 

Later on he went to the Bernburg currend schule 
— system perpetuated to this day — he remained there 
only one year, however, returning to Eisenach, year 
1498. Here under Trebonius — famous in his time, 
rector of the convent of Bare-footed Carmelites — he 

studied grammar, rhetoric, and poesy, expanding now 
into the larger future, studious and ready with his 
books. Trebonius taught his scholars self-respect as 
Well as respect for himself. " I uncover my head," he 
says, " to honor the consuls, chancellors, doctors, mas-, 
ters who shall one day proceed from this school." No 
fist law or tartarism in that kindiy encouragement, 
but some concession of mutual dignity. 

The better circumstances of his father were now 
encouraging the young scholar to further advance- 
ment ; already some qualities not ordinary to youth of 
his age were developing. In rhetoric and elocution 
he was a prodigy ; not alone these, there was equilib- 
rium of scholarship and collateral learning^ — such 
earnestness of purpose as made Trebonius take him 
to heart and bestow upon him 'extraordinary care. 

Upon the records of Erfurt University, 1501, kept 
then by Jodocus Trutfetter, may be found the name 
ol Martinus Ludher ex Mansfeld. Luther signed his 
own name four various ways — Ludher, Lutter, Lothcr 
and Luther — not an uncommon circumstance then, 
vagaries of an unestablished language. 

In 1502 he was advanced to the dignity of Bacca- 
lauretts Philosophiw. 

Here at Erfurt he was under the instruction of 
such men as Gerard Heck«r, an Augustine monk, 
afterward turned protestant; Arnoldi, a staunch Ro- 
manist; John Grevcnstein, who declaimed vigor- 
ously against the execution of Huss, and John Bi- 

24 Martin Luther. [a. d. 1502, 

gand, coming after to a life-long friendship with his 

The conventual library at Erfurt was one of the 
best of its time ; the inventions of Guttenberg had 
now somewhat facilitated the reproduction of books, 
and some were here ; costly volumes then. Here Luther 
read the most of Cicero, Virgil and other Latins. He 
was not a mere pleasure reader ; he read and remem- 
bered ; read only that that was worth remembering, 
in fact became so proficient that at twenty he was ti- 
tled Master of Arts. Something more than the scho- 
lastic tongues, however, engaged him ; already he 
had begun to formulate and work out his own language, 
soon to be invaluable to him as a weapon in the com- 
ing warfare. In public exercises the dexterous way in 
which he extricated himself from the confusion of dia- 
lects commanded the attention of all who listened. 
This was an innovation, infusion of classics into the 
native tongue ; before him no one had attempted it. 

Latin and Greek had- been, all along, the scholar's 
standard ; here was coming one who could erect and 
dignify the language of his own people, make plain 
illustrious truths to lowly minds, or wrangle with the 
doctors in the chosen mediums of belles lettres. 

As a student he was no severe recluse, or jaded 
book worm, but a participator in all the pastimes of 
his fellows. " A manly exterior, with gentleness of 
spirit ; a boisterous ostentation of vice with real purity 
of life," says the analyst. No failure of an alternative 

for the passing hour. Now he was thrumming his 
guitar, now playing the flute. Music was his delight, 
a handmaiden that served him well through all that 
troubled life. " Art of the Prophets," he says, " this 
and theology can calm the agitations of the soul and 
put the devil to flight." That rich counter-tenot 
voice, first heard timidly in the streets of Eisenach, 
cultivated subsequently no doubt by elocutionary 
training, was yet to be heard in something more effec- 
tive than choral singing and mountain music. 

One of his intimates during student life was Lucas 
Cranach, ten years his senior, afterward court painter 
to three electoral princes, and illustrious in his time. 
He painted Luther's portrait also and it is the best we 
have left to us. 

In person young Luther was awkward, carelessly ■ 
indifferent rather, thinking too much upon other 
things than grace of person, absorbed even then by 
greater matters. Stumbling over the road from Erfurt 
to Mansfeld one Easter holiday, his own dagger by 
some mischance severed the crural vein ; a brother 
who accompanied him carried him on his back to Er- 
furt again and he lay by till the wound was heale.d- 

Among the ErfurC books Luther was intemperate, 
wanted to apprehend all, tried to do it and feU sick in 
the trying, a victim to the fascination of over study. 
He was dispirited, morbid melancholy seized him ; a 
conflict of doubts and misgivings. He had started, 
urged by parental injunction, on the high road to the 

26 Martin Luther. [A. d. i$o4, 

law as opening up a more promising future. The con- 
ventual library was rich in biblical literature and he 
had read it much and with great delight. Through his 
restless mind now in the sick room were floating its 
exalted precepts, its vivid imagery. The story of 
Hannah and Samuel particularly affected him, growing 
more beautiful, rose-tinted, to his fevered imagination. 
There was a touch of youthful romance and sentiment 
in all this, a gentleness of feeling to which the German 
scholars of that time were as a rule strangers. 

These books took wings and flew to his bedside, 
charming the dull and lonely hour but leaving him still 
under the harrow of indecision. One day, in the midst 
of his despondency, there came to him a kind old 
priest, unconscious prophet, breathing gentle and en- 
couraging words to the boy of twenty. " Come, my 
son, courage now, you shall not die of this sickness. 
God has a great destiny in store for you. He will 
make a man of you, and you will live to console others 
in your turn, for God loveth those whom he chastens." 
Then he went out, little knowing how great a weight 
those words were to have upon years to come. A 
journey and some time spent at home in Mansfeld suc- 
ceeded this distressful condition. Convalescence did 
not however remove the uncertainty from his mind ; 
the future looked enormous with responsibilities, the 
impulse though youthful was guiding discreetly, no 
hasty forward plunge to the duties of maturity. The 
vast labor of his life was hinging upon these moments, 

Early Days. 

trying indeed at a time when boyish not would seem 
more in Iceeping ; but behind the pleasure-loving boy, 
behind the mirth and follies of yquthful pastimes, 
stood the serious and contemplative Luther, day 1 
day building the intellectual fortress. 

Youthful impatience might have won earlier hoip 
ors ; he was passionate, strong, impetuous, even rash ; 
possessed elements that would have made him great 
in any walk ; might have contracted a marriage not of 
the plebeian sort ; identified himself with the Rood of 
common events and gone on to distinction and afflu- 
ence. But he chose the long and weary road, the one 
least beaten, least tempting, but sure at last of pa 
manent attainment. 

Signs and symbols passed for much in that day^ 
the book of futurity was read in the circling stars and 
in the eccentricities of nature, Horoscopy, a conveni- 
ently pliant art, in which nevertheless all had more 
or less faith, told all the future. These superstitious 
notions were serviceable to help continue the people 
in subjectiveness, but they were destined to follow 
chivalry to obscurity at last. 

Mummery and profound nonsense are not scienci 
Paracelsus was not Galen ; astrology was not astro£ 
omy; the arts of chicane were growing feeble, but 
when the strong light of truth as revealed by advanc- 
ing science was turned on full, common people were 
supine under the threats and foretellings of thej 
mystic numbers. 

28 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1505. 

Luther himself was watchful of every shifting inci- 
dent ; circumstances pointing this way and that, ac- 
cording to their happenings, confirmed his own mind 
at last in its leanings and yearnings. 

Year 1505, while walking in a field with a fellow- 
student, they were overtaken by a thunder storm ; a 
stroke of lightning prostrated them both, killing the 
companion outright. Luther, discovering his uncon- 
scious fellow, fell on his knees in affrighted suppliance, 
as though the heavens themselves commanded him ; 
swore, then and there, a vow to St. Ann that he 
would renounce all worldly ambitions, abandon every 
present promise for the future — in short, become a 

Thus far was he led by sentiment, the ideal relig- 
ious life was triumphant, to his own conviction noth- 
ing now remained except the cloister. Within a fort- 
night Luther made good his vow. 

PERHAPS Luther hoped to escape the mental 
torment, which had so beset him, by placing him- 
self beyond old associations and the lure and incite- 
ments of worldly life; it is more probable, however, 
that he sought seclusion for a closer study of those 
books which had before now engaged his attention. 
The books that had absorbed him, and which he had 
tried to absorb during university life, were some frag- 
mL-nts of the Bible and the " Explanations of the 
Psalms," and " Spirit of the Letter," by St. Augus- 
tine. These in reality were the first that sent hira 
adrift from his original purposes. He had read Biel 
and Andilly, Occam, Scotus and Gerson also; was far 
beyond most men of maturer years in scholarly qual- 
ity ; no empiric either; book factories had not yet . 
made accessible the learning of learned men nor the 
folly of foolish ones. 

William of Occam — or Ockham, whom Luther es- 
pecially admired, was an English disciple of Scotus, 
who stoutly and eloquently maintained the superiority 
of individual judgment over prevailing dogmatad His 
principles fitted well the inclination of Luther's mind. 

30 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1505. 

In France, Occam boldly upheld the national govern- 
ment in its struggle against Papal usurpation. Not 
from revolutionary motives, but hoping thereby to 
assure to common opinion the rights of acknowledg- 
ment at the bar of the hierarch. To think differently 
from the prescribed order then was worse than scep- 
ticism ; free will was heresy. " Have we not all the 
books, all the traditions?" says Rome. "Who, then, 
shall dare to differ from our interpretation ? '* Oc- 
cam's principles of logic, contained in his " Questions 
and Decisions,** engrafted themselves upon Luther*s 

This was among a score or two of books which 
constituted the conventual library, but these were 
enough to quicken the ardor of the young student. 
Art, music, mechanics were nothing compared with 
the majestic possibilities of learning and letters. Lu- 
ther may have seen, and read the whole Bible before 
his voluntary imprisonment, at any rate he saw it soon 
after, and then commenced those years of serious and 
effective study. 

The evening of July 17, 1505, he passed in a con- 
vivial way in company with his fellow-students; music 
and mirth made glad the hour, and no one there knew 
that this was to be the epilogue to his merriment. 
Henceforth the sober and earnest man takes the place 
of the rollicking boy. Midnight finds him not in his 
accustomed place ; in this hour of silence and solitude 
the doors of the Augustine monastery of Erfurt have 

dosed behind him, him and his Virgil and Plautiis, two 
books which might be all the solace of prospective 

Luther's first business after entering the convent 
was to inform his father. 

Consider the chagrin of John Luther, town coun- 
sellor of Mansfeid, when he hears of this performance ; 
he who has sweated and prayed for, and confirmed the 
prosperous future of this favorite son, who had dreamed 
of him as sitting with the erntiine, bearing a state title 
either of civic or military significance. The birchen 
rod must be laid by now, the discipline and precept 
of past years could avail nothing. All these anxious 
hopeful years have gone for nought; his expectant 
chancellor turned priest, worse, turned hermit. These 
were slow post-coach days, though, and John Luther 
was spared the immediate knowledge of his son's re- 
solve. When it did reach hitn, however, he took it .se- 
riously ; like other fathers could not realize that his son 
was growing away from him and his counsels. This 
was burial in life ; " In vita semi-mortua" Melancthon 
has it. Even the faithful and pious of that day, though 
they respected the monk and contributed to his small 
Store, yet tarried Jong to consider before entering the 
door of the convent. 

On the part of John Luther, haste would avail 
nothing now ; there was the month of sequestration, 
during which Martin would be beyond quest and sight 
of the world, already well advanced. 

32 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1505. 

Once inside the walls Martin Luther, true to his 
inspirations, assumed the name of Augustine. His 
consecration was not a mere act alone, it was a thor- 
ough and entire surrender of self. Witness again his 
sincerity in the name which he assumes. There was 
a savor of sentimentalism, however, in this sudden 
digression. See it in his and constant reading of 
St. Augustine, his admiration for a very pure, noble 
and resolute character, and the final assumption of his 
name, which, however, failed to adhere to him. 

Few men of his time were better calculated than 
Martin Luther to imitate these qualities and react 
this character. Easy enough to play a part that has 
some villainy in it ; but where all is excellence, purity 
and gentleness, it is not so readily adopted. This out 
of sight altogether, the scholarly affinity alone would 
have exalted the young disciple. The gown and ring 
pertaining to his Mastership of Arts he sent back to 
the university, where they were greeted with surprise 
and sorrow. This was a formal notification of his re- 

Among his fellows Luther had stood foremost ; 
not only in scholarship but in the more intimate rela- 
tions of social life. To him they all looked up, and 
their eyes had hoped to follow him still upward to 
further eminence and honor. Were all these hopes 
now destined to disappointment ? So many men had 
gone to oblivion in the cloister ; so many promising 
lives had been submerged in this sea of mediocrity 

that it seemed to them in its best aspect a hazardous 
step; they lost no time in urging his renunciation. 

Martin's letter to his father rehearsed to him the 
scene during the thunder-storm, reinforcing it doubt- 
less with all the rhetoric at his command, to convince 
him that he was really called of Heaven. 

" God grant," replied the sorrowing and angry 
father, " that you may not have mistaken the delu- 
sion of the devil (Teufliche Cespensterei) for a sign 
from Heaven." 

John Luther's anger was not soon cooled. For 
many a year it threatened a permanent rupture be- 
tween father and son. Persistency on the part of one, 
patience on the part of the other, with patience ulti- 
mately triumphant. 

Luther's novitiate was anything but serene. Other 
responsibilities than those of high and holy office came 
upon him. What he looked for and yearned for was 
study, interrupted only by recreative meditation; but 
this was not what he found. " If good and pure men," 
he reasoned to himself, "like Augustine, Scotus and 
Occam, could here read and study, erect philosophies, 
become profound, why may not I with even greater 
advantages than they of olden time?" 

The egotism of a young scholar and pride of intel- 
lect may, too, have reflected In his bearing toward 
those about him. At any rate, the elders got their 
heads together and concluded that this youth must 
be humiliated. 

34 Martin Luther. [a. d. 1507. 

** By-and-by he will know more than all of us put 
together ; our traditional dignity will be departed. 
This love of books is sinful, elevates too much the in-* 
dividual mind when it should sit prostrate, meekly 
submissive to the high dispensations of our superiors." 
So reasoned the venerable monks. Luther was doomed 
to become a scullion and drudge, a highway beggar, 
going back to his first estate, Saccum per Neccum^ 
after these years of careful and laborious study, now 
swinging a besom, now winding the convent clock, 
going from house to house with the tribute-bag, or, 
like a pack-mule, bearing burdens to and from the 
convent. " This is mortification, this will break that 
spirit of self-importance," say the pious and reverend 

Two patient years Luther labored with his father, 
trying to reconcile him ; continuing all this time in 
degrading service, lamenting the duties forced upon 
him by these sportulary monks. 

Year 1507, his father agreed to be present at his 
ordination ; further objection he had abandoned. The 
son was growing older, judging for himself, and the 
father knew well, through all his life, the passionate 
intensity of his purposes. So with doubt and fear and 
much sorrow, John Luther journeyed toward Erfurt 
and there saw the black robe fall upon his beloved 
son ; would ratluT pn'l\aps have seen the pall upon his 
coffin. Then were there no further anxieties, no hopes 
growing to be evu>»he\l. 

Mt. 24.] Novitiate. 35 

At the altar Martin Luther was seized with a sud- 
den fear, not timidity, but an overwhelming con- 
sciousness of the sacredness of his vows, uncertainty 
as to his fitness ; he turned indeed to escape, but those 
about him detained him, and the ceremony was soon 

At the dinner which followed, John sat by his son, 
but the father's lips did not open with congratula- 
tions ; not a word of cheer; a burning disappointment 
crushed every pleasure. " Why are you so sad, dear 
father?*' asked Martin; **why regret this monk's 
robe ? Is it not becoming to me ? " 

John Luther looked silently his son up and down, 
then rising from his side, inquired of the company ; 
** Is it not written in the Word that a man should 
honor his father and mother ? " — turned and looked 
Martin again in the face silently — embarrassing silence 
broken only by the general response, " It is." " Pray 
Heaven, then," exclaimed John, " that this be not a 
snare of the devil. Let us drink."* Then dropping 
twenty florins into the hands of his son, he hurried 
from the scene of his disappointment. Twenty florins 
was much money in that day, and there is a touching 
kindliness in this last act, though no kindly word went 
with it. 



CONFINEMENT had already begun to tell upon 
the vigor of the young student ; close and con- 
stant application to study, coupled with meagre diet 
and uncomfortable surroundings, were wearing upon 
a hitherto robust frame. Yet study was even then 
promising its fruits. Reputation awaited the Erfurt 
student. Cloister and convent walls could neither 
hide nor hold the expanding character. The world saw 
nothing but the man in prison ; it had not yet dis- 
cerned that more exalted part of him that rose superior 
to circumstances and went forth free and unencum- 

In 1508, six years after its establishment, Luther 
was called to the professorship of philosophy in Wit- 
tenberg University.* 

In those days universities were tribunals for the 
decision of all questions of science and letters. It was 
the Elector's ambition that Wittenberg should rise to 
this standard, and he declared in its charter that he as 
well as the neighboring princes, *' would repair thither 
as to an oracle, so that when we have come full of 

* libtablibhed hy FicUciick, Elector of Saxony, 1502. 

doubt, we may, after receiving sentence, depart in cer- 

The honors and responsibility of a professorship 
were not light matters. Luther, though not unknown 
to the public, was now to be thrust into eminence. All 
Europe heard of the learned professor, and many came 
to sit under his teaching. 

Previous to this, however, he had made the familiar 
acquaintance of Dr. Staupitz, vicar-general of Erfurt 
convent, a worthy and estimable man, full of faith and 
kindly sympathy. He beheld the degrading services 
which were thrown upon the earnest scholar, put a 
stop tothem and reprimanded his persecutors. Luther, 
depressed, sorrowful and oppressed, appealing to the 
vicar, met with a gentle, even affectionate response. 
In his own words he says, " When I was young it hap- 
pened that L in my priest habit, was taking part in a 
procession on Corpus Christi day at Eisleben. Sud- 
denly the sight of the Holy Sacrament, borne by Dr. 
Staupitz, so terrified me that I perspired at every 
pore, and thought I should die of fear," Immediately 
after the ceremony he confessed to the doctor, told 
him of his fear and weaknesses, told him how he 
trembled at the sight of the sacrament. 

" Thy thoughts," replied the kindly vicar, *' are not 
according to Christ ; Christ does not terrify, he con- 
soles." Revelation indeed, terrorism denied. Even 
with all his Bible-reading he coutd not release himself 
from the vision of an austere Omnipotence. Heredi- 

38 Martin Lulher. [A. d. 1508. 

tar)' tradition, birchen rod, fist-law, these were his 
similes for the ruling power. 

Ceaselessly he cried, " Oh, my sins, my sins." 
** But," says Dr. Staupitz, " you would fain be without 
sin ; no right sin is in you, such as murder, adultery, 
blasphemy. Keep a record of right sins, trouble your- 
self less about small matters, Christ came hither for 
the pardon of our sins.*' Luther could not accept this 
counsel, but went on praying night and day, all night 
and all day, until one morning he was found prone 
upon the floor of his cell, nearly dead. One of the 
monks acquainted with his temperament, and perhaps 
more gentle than the rest, took up his flute and played 
a familiar air, while Luther slowly revived. 

Important factor, this Wittenberg University, in 
future events ! Like its founder it inclined to the ex- 
ercise of free will, as did nearly all the universities not 
devoted to the inculcation of dogma. Propaganda 
had so far succeeded over the schools ; no place there 
for poetry and wit, nothing but church polity, church 
maxims, church worship. 

Conrad Muth, canon of Gotha, " In glucklichen 
riihe,'' " in blessed tranquillity," as he wrote over the 
door of his house, thought otherwise. Oracle of his 
time, he became the patron of young men seized with 
poetic ecstasy, showed roads to learning other than 
those of a polemical kind, introduced them to poets 
of all orders, and doubtless helped to make many 
writers of bad verses. Hierarchy molested him and 

all other teachers of his kind. Nevertheless the sys- 
tem grew in favor and Wittenberg was one of the uni- 
versities that adopted it. 

Unscholastic minds were made acquainted with 
the Homeric poems through the translations of Eras- 
mus, which, with his grammars and dictionaries, let in 
a flood of new light. Such convergent influences as 
these tended more than anything else to nationalize 
and make great Germany, 

Frederick, when he established Wittenberg school, 
though far-sighted enough to give it this tendency, 
knew not how vastly he had augmented it when he 
called Martin Luther as its philosophic teacher.- Uni- 
versity tradition was drawn entirely from the ancient 
institution of Paris. " Stay by this," argued the Ger- 
man, " and there is no such thing as progress ; " so 
they departed from it, dropped the curriculum, now 
nearly four hundred years old, and moved cautiously 
to another plane, not without trouble, however, for 
there was much burning of books and many harsti 

Vicar-genera!, John Staupitz, had taken the full 
measure of Luther and knew well the material of the 
man. Of Staupitz the books say little, but he was 
notabie in his time. To piety he added learning and 
efficiency, not the common zeal known to ardent 
_church people, but a thorough comprehension of 
necessities and broad administrative faculties; Far- 
sighted enough he was to anticipate an impending 

40 Martin Luther. [A. D. 1508. 

collision between the body politic and the body relig- 
ious, shaping his course accordingly, influenced some 
by the Elector, but in the main subject to the superior 
power. However this may be, when the crisis comes 
we shall see which way the advocacy of Thuringia 
turns ; see also if Wittenberg be not the next Jeru- 



LUTHER*S mental disease, so we may call it, was 
one not uncommon to scholars. He was op- 
pressed not by the burden of what he knew but by 
the vastness of that to be known. Earnestly laboring 
to distinguish truth from untruth, the real from the 
false, he saw how small a part of real excellence was 
the mere act of devotion. Ideal religion afforded him 
little satisfaction. A personal responsibility con- 
fronted him, no matter how strongly the canons urged 
that all power was vicarated, and a monk's robe was 
only another lion skin if it did not fall upon shoulders 
worthy of it. 

" When I was in the monastery at Erfurt," writes 
Luther, '* a preaching friar and a barefoot friar wan- 
dered together into the country to beg for the brethren 
and gather alms. These two played upon each other 
in their sermons. The barefoot friar preaching first 
said : * Loving country people and good friends, take 
heed of that bird, the swallow, for he is white within 
but upon the back it is black ; it is an evil bird, 
always chirping but profitable for nothing ; and when 
%ngry is altogether mad/ hereby describing the preach- 

42 Martin Luther. [a. d. 151a 

in^ friar, who wore on the outside a black coat, and 
untlcrncath it white linen. 

** Now, in the evening the preaching friar came 
into tlic pulpit and played upon the barefoot friar. 

* liulccd, loving friends, I know him,- nor can well 
lU Iciui the swallow, but the gray sparrow is a far 
worse and more hurtful bird than the swallow, for it 
bites the kiiie, blinds people's eyes, as ye may learn 
in the book of Tobit. He robs, steals, and devours 
all he can get, as oats, barley and all other eatable 
things. Moreover he is a lascivious bird; his great 
art is to cry scrip ! scrip ! ' The barefoot friar might, 
in better colors, have painted the preaching friars, the 
other birds, buzzards and right epicureans, while the 
barefoot friars, under the cloak of sanctity and hu- 
mility, are more proud and haughty than kings or 
princes, and most of them have imagined and devised 
monstrous lies."^ 

In another place Luther says : " In Italy was a par- 
ticular order of friars, called Fratres IgnoranticB^ that 
is * Brethren of Ignorance,' who took a solemn oath 
that they would neither know, learn nor understand 
anything at all, but answer all questions with * nescio^ 
Truly all friars are well worthy of this title, for they 
only read and babble out the words but regard not 
their meaning. The pope and the cardinals think, 

* Should these brethren study and be learned, they 
would master us,* therefore saccum per neccum, that 

* Ilazlitt's translation. 

Mt. 27.] Meditaiions and Anxieties. 

is, " hang a bag about their necks and send them t 
beg through city, town and country." 

Luther was convinced of a greater and better e 
nence for the monk. He himself was the best exa 
pie of a disbeliever in hereditary faith that the wc 
ever had ; so was he the best example of the sincere 
Catholic, St. Augustine. "We get our instructionj 
from the supreme Pontiff at Rome," said the Erfui 
monks, when Luther was absorbed by his books, 
need of these books; why waste time in study whe( 
you might be enjoying yourself? " 

Luther looked higher. The foundation of his i 
ligion was an intelligent knowledge of its import; 
going beyond thesis and dogma, it went to the root 
of it. Prescribed penances were of small account to 

At Wittenberg that oratorical faculty, which had 
before distinguished him, rose to its sublimest propor- 
tions ; strong, rich voice, remarkable rhetoric, better 
than all. unaffected sincerity, put him forward at once 
as the first orator of his land and time. Still a monk, 
he took quarters at the Augustine convent in Witteib 
berg, alternately teaching and preaching in the moffl 
astery, in the royal chapel and in the college chu 
these with his study leaving no abundant leis 
Still was he given to morbid melancholy and solitudi 

One day, studying his Bible, his eyes fe!i upon tlfl 
passage, "The just shall Uve by faith." — ^Alone it v 
incomprehensible. Justitia Dei revelantur in illo-. 

44 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1510. 

these first words involved a perplexity of terror. 
Defined in their narrower meaning and without col- 
lateral significance, even now they carry an impression 
of austerity ; so Luther read them in his Bible. He 
turned to the friendly commentary of St. Augustine, 
read it and made a note, ** Then was I glad, for I 
learned and saw that God's righteousness was his 
mercy, by which he accounts and holds us justified ; 
thus I reconciled justice with justification and felt as- 
sured that I was in the true faith. It seemed to me 
as though Heaven's gate stood fully open and I was 
entering therein.'* Not strange is it that he came to 
think theology " the mistress of the world, the queen 
of the arts.*' 

Lecturing at the university was not like preaching 
to the shepherds in the Erfurt hills. Here was seri- 
ous business; men with heads as well as hearts lis- 
tened. One way or another he was leading them, and 
the intense consciousness of his obligations weighed 
heavily. Nevertheless, the mind destined to gild the 
age in which it lived was gradually expanding. Only 
just now moving to its fit province. 

Few men got so luany honors as came to Luther 
in the first five-and-twenty years of his life. Already 
his name was familiar in every city of letters and 
learning. Aversion to the duty he was performing 
did not paralyze the efficiency of his work. If the 
world thought this his single object and vocation, it 
was mistaken. For in the midst of assiduous labors 

he was preparing himself in other directions, .The 
course of his life was not yet truly set ; but in his own 
mind he had found " the kernel of the nut, the heart 
of the wheat " in theological study. Tauler's sermons 
confirmed him in the aspiration for the degree of Doc- 
tor of Theology.* 

The philosophy of Aristotle had become abomina- 
ble to him ; this abomination nearly crowded him out 
of his chair in the university. He could not honestly 
profess it. Its inception was wrong, and he halted 
at the prospect of becoming its exponent. "You 
would kill me," said he in conversation with Dr. Stau- 
pitz, " 1 shall not be able to carry it three months," 
" Then you die in the service of your Lord and Mas- 
ter," replied the vicar, Luther yielded to wise and 
excellent counsel. After he had assumed his position, 
some one inquiring concerning his health, got the re- 
sponse : " I am well, thank God, but should be better 
if I did not have to profess this philosophy." 

However vehemently he may have disavowed the 
Aristotelian system at this time, it had evidently taken 
strong hold of him. His table-talk (not always to be 
relied on, some suspicion of gratuitous emendation 
by other hands there,) frequently turned upon it with 
severe comment. " Aristotle, the heathen, the epicu- 

• Juhn Tauler. myslic, bom al Sitasbui^, izgo, joined the order of 
Dominicans, studied theology in Paris, and gained great reputation as 
a preacher and Reformer of bis church, also effected many changes 
in the Gcrmui latiguage, died 1361. Ue was in truth the first reformer. 

46 Martin Luther. [a. d. 1510. 

rean Aristotle/* he calls him, yet his whole life, manner 
of life and logic, was founded on these same principles. 
The only difference between the two was a distance 
of fifteen centuries and the advance of a new religion. 
What Aristotle drew from remoteness and reason only 
Luther found in his Bible. 

Perfect virtue and supreme intelligence belong to 
the God of Aristotle as well as the God of the Bible, 
but one is the evolution of philosophy, the other 
a revealed fact conforming in the main to the deduc- 
tions of a mind laboring with scholar's tools only. . 
What one drew from universal nature the other drew 
from the light of record ; in the analysis both had 
used the same tools. Every obscure passage, every 
word with a complex or double meaning is extracted 
from chaos, made clear and satisfactory to himself by 
no borrowed commentary, but by lucid, erudite logic, 
untrimmed by prejudice, untrammeled by tradition ; 
developing strangely under an intelligence sharpened 
by long and faithful study. 

There was a time when Luther knew as little of 
the Bible as Aristotle. He had heard of the book and 
read some of it, but so fragmentary was this knowl- 
edge that it afforded him no premise, no idea from 
which to expand. 

The now great Luther was only a pigmy compared 
to the Luther to come, when his piety had grown 
equally profound with his philosophy. 

Luther had often read to Staupitz from the Bible 

^t. 27.] Meditations and Anxieties. 47 

which he had found in the Erfurt monastery. Staupitz 
was a willing listener, faithful indeed now, toward his 
order and the pontifical head of his church, but hav- 
ing the elements of reform strong within him. So lib- 
eral and outspoken was the vicar, that it came to the 
ears of the pope, already somewhat perplexed by the 
attitude of his German following, kept busy, in fact, 
patching up and conciliating this whole territory. 

The clergy, as a rule, were deplorably ignorant. 
Not necessary for them to know anything except the 
laws and usages of the church. Their prayers were 
Latinized German of such a sad mixture that sense 
could not be made of them. On the subject of the 
Passion a monk preached for two hours after this man- 
ner, ** Whether quality is in reality distinct from sub- 
stance. My head may pass through this hole, but the 
bigness of my head cannot pass through it.'* 

Luther had been two years engaged at university 
duties, when Staupitz came into collision with some 
of the convents of his order ; so serious a difference 
that some one must go to Rome to explain matters, 
get them righted if possible. Naturally enough 
Staupitz selected for this delicate office his close and 
well qualified friend Luther. 



THUS far we have beheld nothing but the sim- 
ple-minded rustic youth, grown out of nature, 
educated in the conventual schools, with a small cir- 
cumference of observation and limited experience, a 
bibliophile of his time, if you like, with much more 
than ordinary capacity, however, reading not always 
to accept, but to except from, enlarge upon, and cor- 

Hitherto the German scholars had been, for the 
most part, faithful disciples, but here was one without 
precedent, the initiator of an epoch, the founder of 
new principles ; but no one knew, no one prophesied 
the greatness and dignity of the structure which 
should rise upon these. 

All through this period of Luther's life you may 
plainly discern the influence of John Tauler's sermons, 
weak it may be at first, but growing to a comprehen- 
sible reality afterward. You can trace to them direct- 
ly those influences on the common mind of Germany 
which afterward assumed such vastness, yet so obscure 
and so remote was their source that history has not, 
in any degree, accorded them their full measure of im- 

JEt 27.] T/^e yourney to Rome. 49 

Jodocus Trutfetter, of Eisenach, Luther's old 
tutor, was now a great sustainer of established opin- 
ion. Subsequent events diminished his importance, 
not for want of scholastic ability, but because he 
went astray from popular inclination. He was no 
mean adversary, an oracle of his time rather, and his 
opinions were much respected, if not altogether ad- 
hered to. He characterized the teachings of Luther 
and Staupitz as heretical, rebellious ; and, bringing to 
his side of the debate seven conventual establishments, 
made a breach so wide that nothing but papal inter- 
cession could bridge it over. 

That was what sent Luther on his long and deci- 
sive journey to Rome ; that, too, terminated the boy- 
hood, the childish simplicity of the great man of the 
future. Every day is now to add its empirical influ- 
ence. A simple, sweet, and pious nature, accustomed 
only to the pabulum of books and meditative inspira- 
tion, nearly or quite ignorant of the alluring factors of 
the world, will now have thrust upon it some unre- 
corded, unsavory truths. 

A journey to Rome in those days was a veritable 
pilgrimage, beset with difficulties and dangers. As 
was then common, Luther set out on foot as a mendi- 
cant friar, accompanied by a brother monk, full of 
hope and rejoicing at the prospect of seeing with his 
own eyes a city clothed with such honors and dignity. 
Sacred place indeed, where saints and martyrs slept, 
and where holy men did watch and pray continually. 

5o Martin Luther. [a. d. 1511 

His resting places, like those of nearly all travellers of 
that time, were such as he found along the road, 
generally at the convents of his order. 

Though many of the German cities through which 
he travelled were larger in population than at present, 
the greater part of his journey was through a wild and 
woody country, jealously watched by the barons from 
their hill-top castles. 

The date of this journey is lodged in uncertainty; 
figurc-mousers have disputed between 15 10 and 151 1. 
Chronology here, however, is unimportant, judging 
from the meagre record which is left of this toilsome 
episode. Luther himself only notes those experiences 
which were foreign to his own, saying little in regard 
to his pains. 

Simple-minded Germany was full of fabulous stories 
concerning the power and splendor of Italy. Some- 
thing more than reverential awe inspired these ; it was 
superstitious dread of supposed supernatural endow- 
ments. "The Italian only requires you to look into 
a mirror to be able to kill you ; they can deprive you 
of all your senses by secret poisons. In Italy the air 
itself is pestilential."^ At night they close, hermeti- 
cally seal every window and stop every chink and 
cranny." All this was poured into Luther's ears, 
in the course of his journey ; even he, with all his 
learning* had imbibed largely of the superstitions of 

* This undoubtedly alludes to the miasma then much more preva- 
lent and fatal in Rome than at present. 

his native land. Frequently, in his own records, he 
speaks gravely of witches, magic and mysterious per- 
formances, as though they were serious facts. The 
soberness with which he discourses concerning some 
of his conferences with evil spirits is amusing. If we 
are to believe him, a legion of devils was at his heels 
continually, and neither rhetoric nor invective suc- 
ceeded in dispersing them. 

Imagine him now, after many perplexities, foot- 
sore and weary, standing upon the southern slope of 
the Alps ; below and before him the Italy of his ex- 
pectations, ever beautiful land of the cerulean sky and 
plenteous verdure; rapture and reverence doubtless 
filled his spirit as he breathed what he believed to be 
the verj- fragrance of piety and devotion, in this at- 
mosphere of the saints. 

At the Milan convent he was hospitably received ; 
the first introduction this to social Italy. There, in 
his own brotherhood, instead of dark and dubious 
cloisters, coarse and scanty fare, he finds palatial halls, 
rich in all that art and hunnan labor could bestow. 
The young German stood aghast, for here was a mighty 
.contrast with the severer Saxon convents he had 
known. More contrast when, on Friday, he beheld 
their tables laden with meat and wine. The blunt 
Saxon spoke his mind about it, took them to task 
so emphatically that his hosts took umbrage, and he 
was invited not to stay, and left forthwith, but not 

52 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1511. 

before he had found that brothers of his order lived 
by other things than faith.* 

Still hopeful but resolute, he pursues his way. At 
Pavia he is worn out and takes to his bed, having pre- 
viously left his companion ill at Bologna. Fervid 
heat, fatigue and unwholesome water had overcome 
them both. Again melancholy seizes him ; the vis- 
ion of death in a foreign land rises like a spectre before 
him, but in the midst of his hallucinations, his lips, 
moving almost unconsciously, repeat the words, those 
old words which had so long been the source of his 
anxiety, ** The just shall live by faith." 

A course of diet of pomegranates relieved the 
travellers and in a few days they were again journeying. 
Hastening to make up for lost time, they passed 
through Florence without stopping, in order, if pos- 
sible, to be at Rome before St. John's day, having 
fn mind the ancient Roman proverb, ** Happy the 
mother whose child shall celebrate mass in Rome on 
St. John's day eve." 

** Oh, how I desired," says Luther, " to give my 
mother this happiness, but it was impossible and 
vexed me greatly." They arrived too late. 

Before the Porto del Popolo, Luther fell on his 
knees exclaiming : ** Hail, holy Rome ; made holy by 

* For one day's fasting there are three of feasting. Every friar has 
for his supper two quarts of beer, a quart of wine, and spice cakes, or 
bread prepared with spice and salt. Thus go on these poor fasting 
brethren. — Table-talk, 

iEt. 27.J The yourney to Rome. 5 3 

the holy martyrs and the blood which has been spilled 

Remain there, outside the gate, reverend and sin- 
cere man, if you would hold to these opinions ; dan- 
gerous place within for simple, trustful piety. All 
the splendor of the world past and wealth present 
has culminated here. Glorious eraM:his for art, which 
here has grown out of crude antiquity, exalting itself 
and becoming ;nore exalted under the immortal genius 
of a Raphael and a Michael Angelo. Marvels of stone 
and wood were growing above and beside the ruinous 
remnants of other grandeur. Rome of the christian 
sixteenth century has striven to outdo the polytheistic 
Rome of the past ; has made herself rotten in the doing 
of it. The tribute money of many faithful nations has 
rolled up and crystalized on the banks of the Tiber. 
Julius II., now upon the papal throne, ** rising/' says 
the chronicler, ** like the Neptune of Virgil," prudent 
and peace-inspiring from the sea of licentiousness and 
villainy which swashed and surged about the Borgian 
court ; far enough removed yet from a genuine mor- 
ality. With all his good qualities Julius was unequal 
to the task of entire reconstruction ; no one man 
could live long enough or work hard enough to clean 
all the dirt from these Augean stables. Display and 
prodigal expenditure went on apace. War succeeded 
the entanglements of corruption and the pope became 
a conqueror instead of a pacificator. The dagger and 
murderous philters still played their part, even in the 

54 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1511. 

Borgo ; the miasma of intrigue, worse than that ex- 
haled by the silent pools, still spread its unwhole- 
some influences. Veneration for the Holy See was 
nearly lost, and formal religion in great part turned 
to blasphemy. 

Luther now, impelled by genuine enthusiasm, 
hastened without delay to behold with his own eyes 
the prodigious works of the city. Now standing be- 
fore the half completed St. Peter's, npw contemplat- 
ing the splendid relics of an age gone by. He de- 
voted himself to penances, ascending the ** Scala 
Santa,'* all the time feeling in his heart the prompt- 
ings to a more intelligent piety. Again the words, 
** The just shall live by faith,*' rung, even thundered, 
in his ears. He saw here in Rome that piety which 
was a mere habiliment, to be put on or off. In the 
convent where he visited they smiled at the simple 
faith of this German pilgrim, winking at his sober sin- 
cerity and making light of his erudition. The convents 
here in Rome differed vastly from those he had been 
familiar with in his own land. Here three or four 
monks only made up a household. These were pala- 
ces indeed with royal revenues. Far away in those 
Thuringian hills plainj sombre walls sheltered twelve 
or fifteen ill fed, poorly clothed brethren. 

When he said mass in the church, adopting the 
serious emphasis of his own country, the priests at his 
elbow hilrried him along, could say it seven times over 
while he was not yet finished. While blessing the 

sacrament one day, a monk whispered to him, " quick, 
quick, send our lady her son back speedily, what use 
of being so deUberate ? " 

At another time he corrected a young monk for 
reading mmisimus iit place- of suntpsimus. " Mind thine 
own business," retorted the monk, "we have already 
read munsimits and we are not going to change our 
reading for thee." 

Luther was deeply pained by the loose principles 
and worse than loose practices of his brethren. He 
says, "The papists have a fair and glittering external 
worship and boast much of God's work, of faith, of 
Christ and the sacrament, of love and hope, but they 
utterly deny the power and virtue of all these, nay, 
teach that which is quite contrary thereto." 

The prescribed language of the Utany was trans- 
posed, made nneaningless or to convey ideas contrary 
to its intent; these celebrants juggled with things 
sacred. "Panis es, panis manebis," said one of these 
jugglers, holding the bread before him ; then elevated 
the host while ail the people bowed devoutly and said 
amen. Poor ignorant people, slaves to tradition, su- 
perstitious dread, and a tyrannical church ! 

At one time during his visit he was present during 
a disputation before the pope, in which thirty learned 
doctors were engaged. The pope had boasted that 
with his right hand he commanded the angels of 
heaven, with his left hand he drew souls out of purga- 
tory, and that his person was mingled with that of the 

56 Martin Luther. [a. d. 1511. 

Godhead. Callxtus, who argued against this assump- 
tion, was obliged at last to yield, surrendered entirely 
as was always a matter of necessary courtesy toward 
the holy father. 

The treatment of Luther while in Rome was any- 
thing but cordial and kindly ; instead of Christian 
brotherhood, warm and generous sympathy, he met 
nothing but repulse and coldness; their creed, their 
piety, was only ceremonial and brief at that. 

Italy had risen to such a panoply of splendor that 
she looked with contempt on the plain German brother. 
'* They are wanting in culture, in' the arts they are 
nothing, in the sciences they are babes,** said the criti- 
cal Roman. True enough, but even then, German 
pence were helping to lay the stones of St. Peter's ; 
even then, German soldiers stood to the death for the 
faith they professed. 

Luther saw nothing here pre-eminent but art ; him- 
self a lover of the arts, this he could not fail to notice. 
Titian was in the meridian of his triumphs. Many 
rooms of the pontifical palace had been painted by 
Perugino, Sodoma and others. Raphael himself was 
engaged in completing the work, painting even now, 
perhaps, his famous " Reconciliation of philosophy and 
astrology with theology'' Julius was the noble patron 
of Raphael, and his friend, Bramante, the first archi- 
tect of St. Peter*s. 

Rome was intoxicated by her increasing splendor, 
fat with money got by various devices from various 

lands, made pompous by the sycophantic obeisance 
of many nobles. "The covetousness of the pope," 
says Luther, " exceeded all others, for the devil made 
choice of Rome as his pecitHar habitation. The 
ancients said: 'Rome is a den of covetousness, a 
root of all wickedness.' I have also read in a very 
old book these words following : — ' Versus ptnor, vmndi 
caput est et bestia ierrae.' That is where the word 
ainor is turned backward it reads Roma. ' The head 
of the world, the beast that devours all lands.' At 
Rome all is raked to the hands of the prelates without 
preaching or church service; the poor ignorant iaity 
being deluded through superstition and Idolatry to 
purchase their services for money. I am persuaded a 
man cannot know the disease of covetousness unless 
he know Rome, for deceits and jugglings in other parts 
arc nothing in comparison to those of Rome." 

Luther remained in Rome only a fortnight; he 
saw, heard, studied carefully and thought much. 
Bold and strong as the Jupiter of Michael Angelo 
were the impressions which he got there and^ carried 
with him to the end of his days. 

When he went once more out at the gate, with his 
face turned northward toward Germany, toward Wit- 
tenberg and home, no one dreamed, no one in the 
mighty city gave even a passing thought to the future 
of this plain friar, soon to shake the throne which 
had, for centuries, dictated to kings and princes. 

Evidently Rome did not weigh well, did not apprc 

58 Martin Luther. [A. D. 1511. 

ciate the power of her Saxon allies ; the rare and sub- 
stantial virtues of the German would not be flattered, 
cajoled, or mollified by the chicanery of Rome. The 
light and frivolous employments of Italy did not fit 
well here in the north country. Zither and castanet 
could not charm away the ingrained manhood, heroic 
manhood inherited through centuries. Children of 
Kaiser Frederick and the helmeted Markgraves, with 
their traditions of valor and heroism, were not now 
meekly to accept the dictation of any imperator but 
one of their own choice ; ** Hands, hearts, and heads 
must be free,** they say. " Let us look seriously into 
matters, and meanwhile we will retain four-fifths of 
the Episcopal fund collected here, until we have better 
knowledge as to the use of our money in Rome." 



YEAR 15 12 Luther is again in Wittenberg, re- 
turned there, not a meek and submissive pilgrim 
to rehearse the praises of Rome, but full of indigna- 
tion, which he does not hesitate to express. " I would 
not,*' he says, " have missed seeing Rome for a hun- 
dred thousand florins ; I feel justified now in many- 
statements that I have made ; fears which I enter- 
tained are more than strengthened ; there are bad do- 
ings in Rome.** 

Luther brought with him from Rome a little pic- 
ture, a satire upon the pope, if you please. The church 
was there represented as a ship almost filled with friars, 
monks, and priests, who were casting out lines to those 
that were behind in the sea. The pope, with his car- 
dinals and bishops, sat at the helm of this ship, over- 
shadowed and covered by the Holy Ghost, who was 
looking toward heaven. Luther's strictures upon this 
representation were severe enough. It made for him 
the text -of a discourse which startled his hearers and 
set intelligent men to thinking. 

He did not immediately assume his duties in the 
university, but to allow Dr. Staupitz a period of rest, 

6o Martin Luther. [A. d. 1512. 

took upon him the duties of vicar-gerteral, and set 
about improving the condition of the monasteries in 
his chiirgc. It was serious business, for the budget of 
complaints, dissensions, and demands was a large one, 
and the differences before existing had set them all 
pulling in different directions, and had put Staupitz to 
his wits also. This was partly caused by Staupitz's 
acceptance of the principles of theology laid down by 
Taulcr and reinforced by the publication of "^ Book 
of German Theology.'^ Nothing new about this book, 
however ; its principles found their inception as far back 
as the ninth century. That they had vital strength 
their long existence is sufficient evidence. Hitherto 
the schools had been despotic in their opposition to 
mysticism. Reason enough for this state of things, 
mysticism in that time was indirectly threatening the 
nominal head of the church. " What an age ; " ex- 
claims Hutten, rejoicing in the light of a new dawning 
day, ** learning flourishes, the minds of men are awak- 
ing, it is joy to be alive." In other words, now we 
shall have forensic battles, a war of letters, a tumult 
of learning ; men will begin to think for themselves, 
and so thinking will act. 

If Luther was a man of severity and strong impul- 
ses, liable to explode at any moment with invective 
and irony, he also possessed in a large degree the di- 
plomatic quality, policy some call it. In a battle of 
words it was a foregone conclusion that he was surely 
to be the winner. No man of his time had such ready 

^1. 29.] TVtlienber^ and its Motive. 

command of language or used it more effectively. You 
must not judge the man Luther, wielding his German 
and Latin, by the man Luther translated into English 
prose ; what sounds well and fits handsomely and easily 
in one is coarse and vulgar in the other. The expres- 
sion of German thought in his time was couched in 
undebatable words. Inherent and long continued love 
of truth demanded nothing equivocal. 

In the course of a long epistolary controversy with 
Michael Dressel, prior of the Nieustadt monastery, in 
which he requested, in fact demanded him to surrender 
his post, Luther mixed sentimentality, piety, humor 
and an amusing account of his occupations, not for- 
getting, however, to be severely imperative in his 
demands upon the prior. 

In the prosecution of his liberal designs Luther had 
one opponent more formidable than any who came 
after ; he stood fairly and effectually in the way of the 
Wittenberg professor, until death removed him in 
^513- Jodocus Trutfetter was the last faithful ad- 
herent of papal dictation in Germany who had influ- 
ence and learning enough to combat the energy and 
determination of Luther. So long as he lived, Trut- 
fetter kept on him the fetters of liberalism ; old age 
and dissolution alone conquered him. Had he been 
of equal years with Luther the progress of events 
might have been delayed, even transferred to another 

Soon after Luther's return the prospects of Wit- 

62 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1512. 

tenbcrg were seriously impaired by the appearance 
of epidemic small-pox in the town. The inhabitants 
fleeing in terror, urged Luther to go with them. 

** Fly," he replied, ** My God, no ! The world will 
not perish for one monk. Here is my duty and here 
will I remain. Conscience bids me, and until con- 
science bids otherwise, so will I do. Not that I have 
not fear of death. I am not the apostle Paul — but the 
Lord will deliver me from fear." And when the af- 
fliction had passed, the refugees returned again only 
to find Luther faithful at his post. 

October i6th, 15 12, Luther had conferred upon 
him the degree of Doctor of Divinity,* and on the day 
following he was invested with the official insignia by 
Andrew Bodenstein,f of Carlstadt. 

The charges of this ceremony, much beyond the 
capacity of Luther's purse, were advanced by the 
Elector, now become an unequivocal friend and power- 
ful advocate of the young theologian. "Another 
Scipio," Luther calls him, " able to govern and over- 
come himself and to curb his mind, a high and most 
laudable victory." This assumption by Luther of the 
exalted theological honors was the outgrowth of no 
ambition for personal distinction. The work of his 

* The degrees of Doctor of Divinity were at this time of two orders. 
Dr. Biblicus, and Dr. Sententiarius. The former was the one bestowed 
upon Luther. 

f Then Dean of the theological faculty of Wittenberg, but later on 
far from friendly to the young doctor and his projects. 

Mt. 25.] Witlender^ and its Motive. 63 

whole life had been leading up to it. He was 
emphatically a Bible student, accepting its cardinal 
principles for the government of himself and his teach- 
ing. " The study of theology is despised among us 
and the gospel of Christ as well as the excellent writ- 
ing of the Holy Fathers are completely neglected ;' 
faith, piety, moderation, and all the virtues so much 
praised and valued by even the pagans themselves, the 
wonders of God's grace and the merits of Jesus, all 
these are doctrines upon which the most profound 
silence is maintained by them. And such people too, 
who understand nothing of either theology or philoso- 
phy, are elevated to the highest dignities of the 
church and become the guardians of our souls. A 
melancholy decline of the Christian church ; hatred 
toward the clergy and the total absence of all good 
and salutary instruction ; the profligate life led by 
the ecclesiastics, these all shake the faith of well- 
minded parents and prevent them from allowing their 
sons to devote their lives to that once hoiy service. 
The priests omit entirely the searching of the holy scrip- 
tures ; they corrupt their t-aste to such an extent that 
they no longer feel the beauty and force ; they become 
lukewarm and lazy in their duties, and are only too 
glad when the service is speedily ended, chant and 
sermon hurriedly concluded and their presence no 
longer required ! They discourse more gravely and 
impressively with a mortal upon whom they may 
have a claim for money than with their Divine master 


64 Martin Luther. [a. d. 1512. 

and Creator ; instead of devoting their leisure time to 
study, they bestow it in gambHng, debauchery and 
licentiousness, without caring in the least or having 
any consideration for the disgust their conduct every- 
where produces. How then is it possible that in this 
•■shameful state of things the laity 'can feel respect for 
them or religion itself." 

Witnesses to and upholders of this bold assertion 
were not wanting. Christopher Stadium, good Bishop 
of Augsburg, in a synodical charge to his clergy, re- 
hearsed this complaint ; took his people to task for 
vices destructive alike to the church and the people. 
Hugo, Bishop of Constantine, though bitterly opposed 
to the doctrines of Luther, coincided with this arraign- 
ment of the abuses of the church. Indeed the sober 
scholastic mind of all Germany was commonly in ac- 
cord with it. 

Of the leading members of the clerical body of the 
Swiss Confederation in this sixteenth century, there 
were not three who had ever read the Bible. A letter 
from Zurich to the people of Valois, written about 
this time, quoted a Bible passage, but only one man 
was found there who knew the book and he only by 

Need enough then that sincere and strong men 
like Luther should emphasize this department in the- 
ology. Some theology there was aside from the man- 
datorial utterances of Rome. Luther was now in a 
position to speak with more authority than before ; his 

iEt. 29.] Wittenberg and its Motive. 65 

word sounded further, sunk deeper, thanks to gentle 
George Spalatin, who we may suspect urged upon the 
Elector Luther's fitness for the exalted position ; not 
much urging necessary, perhaps, for no man in the 
province was more sensible of Luther's piety than 
the Elector himself. 

When Leo X. came to the papal chair he found 
much business on his hands. His predecessor had 
already rifled the coffers of the treasury, and pretty 
thoroughly mulcted every province subject to the 
church. There were bills unpaid, great edifices un- 
completed, contracts not yet matured, besides ambi- 
tious designs of his own to prosecute. He wanted to 
leave some monument as grand as any yet projected- 
Italian taste had grown so dilettante that nothing but 
incomparable ornament could satisfy it ; all the genius 
of the nation was hired to gratify this ambition. In 
their choice of the aesthetic they had gone wide from 
devoutness and reverence, " from virtue to * vertu," 
says Carlyle, and were paying vastly more to gratify 
carnality than they were to advance the religion over 
which they dominated. 

The money which made Rome once more splendid 
disintegrated the Christian church, paralyzed its power 
for good. Some ingenious invention must now be re- 
sorted to in order to repilenish the treasury. Ximenes 
had flatly refused to loan from the Spanish exchequer 
funds to be wasted at Rome ; he forced the papal col- 
lectors to take an oath that they would forward no 

66 Martin Luther. [a. d. 1513. 


funds or bills of exchange thither. France was more 
liberal and advanced one hundred thousand livres, for 
which Leo bonded one-tenth of a prospective contri- 
bution ; this money was for the ostensible service of 
putting the Turk to the sword. Leo hypothecated 
the same security with Fugger, of Augsburg, and got 
thirty thousand gulden. The expedient hit upon for 
the liquidation of these debts was the public sale of 
indulgences. Ximenes had interdicted them through- 
out Spain, France was already liberal. Germany pre- 
sented the most promising field. Here, they argued, 
we may sell the peasantry passports to heaven and 
set our money bags at Milan rattling with good coin. 
When Luther assumed the theological chair at 
Wittenberg the Pallium was absorbed with financial 
perplexities ; the only way to extricate it was to play 
on the faith of the simple-minded people and so ex- 
tort the necessary funds. It was a desperate expedi- 
ent. If we may regard the enlightenment of the pub- 
lic mind as worth anything, Luther*s years were now 
full of useful labor ; blessed with great physical endu- 
rance and an intelligence and comprehension much 
above the common order, his philosophy as well as his 
theology was accepted as final by the scholars as well 
as the commonalty of the German provinces. Trut- 
fcttcr being now providentially removed, Carlstadt 
and Pete^r Lupinus took up the cudgels; proved, how- 
ever, not strong opponents to the liberal opinions of 
Luther. The spell of mysticism was still upon him, 

growing stronger in fact as he advanced ; his opinions 
not yet matured or clearly defined, were sonnetimes at 
variance with each other. 

The first words of Luther, publicly uttered in the 
German tongue upon religious subjects, were in a 
sermon preached in Novem.ber. 1515. In terms not 
altogether delicate he applies the symbolical language 
of the Song of Songs to the operations of the Holy 
Ghost, which acts on the spirit through the flesh, In 
December of the same year, we detect him unfolding 
the mystery of the Trinity according to the principles 
of Aristotle, the theory of being, motion, and rest. 
His audiences during this period were remarkable, not 
more for their number than for their character. The 
foreshadowing of an eminent destiny for the preacher 
drew to Wittenberg a concourse of the best minds 
of Germany. The novelty of preaching in the mother 
tongue appealed to the commonalty, who sat at his 
feet, wilhng listeners to what they could comprehend. 
Transfixed by the warmth and earnestness of his appeal, 
perhaps they involuntarily looked over their shoulders, 
expecting to sec Kaiser Frederick step in, sword in 
hand, shouting his promise of protection, Luther's 
efforts were directed as much against superstitions of 
this sort as any other error. He studied to instil into 
tlic minds of his hearers, by fair and just means, his own 
simple and logical faith ; fair and just means \ve may 
say, but sometimes characterized by a vehemence which 
approached rashness. He did not halt to flatter the 

68 Martin Luther. [A. d. 15 15. 

taste of the punctilious, or to apologize for the estab- 
lished German custom of calling things by their right 
names. Emphatic directness marked every passage 
and every fragment of his utterance. All this time, 
Spalatin, chaplain of the Elector, continued his friendly 
offices at court ; frequent letters passed between him- 
self and Luther. In one of these Luther alludes again 
to the great value of Tauler's sermons ; ** There is 
not,'* he says, " in our language or in the Latin a the- 
ology more harmonious with the gospels. Try them 
and see how gracious the Lord is." So was the in- 
fluence of the dead mystic working even at this late 
day, although the entire number of those who em- 
braced his philosophy was not greater now than in his 
own time. 

The first church that Luther had preached in at 
Wittenberg was a poor affair, aged and ruinous, the 
pulpit constructed of a few planks laid conveniently. 
Now the town council invited him to preach in the 
city church, more ample in its accommodations and 
complete in its appointments. Hitherto, the only 
languages with which he had been familiar were his 
own and the Latin ; now, urged by the desire for a 
complete knowledge of the Bible, he undertook Greek 
and Hebrew, incited to them, probably, by the schol- 
arly works of Erasmus. 

He was at this time the type of a perfect manhood ; 
of medium stature, squarely built, with a round, small 
head, and eyes " like a falcon." His voice was rich 

JEt. 32.J JVtdniberg and 

and powerful, and his manner that of a man absorbed 
in the work before him. Cochla;us and other detract- 
ors attribute part of his power over men to frenzy. 
We shall see in the sanguinary hours to come whether 
it was all frenzy, anJ was lacking in appeals to the 
higher manhood and intelligence. Frenzy seldom 
carries with it tlie sympathy of contemplative men; 
he carried not only their sympathy but their active 
co-operation, laboring hard and constantly to release 
the common people from their thraldom of opinions 
and superstitions. A mighty task this, undoing the 
habits of centuries. 

Luther advocated love, kindness, gentleness, es- 
pecially in those engaged in theological studies. His 
own manner however was in strong contrast with this 
teaching. Naturally passionate, he could rise in de- 
bate to the climax of bitterness and hurl at the heads 
of his opponents such violent abuse that nothing short 
of angry repartee could be expected. "Thoughts 
flew out of his mind like sparks from the iron under 
the stroke of the hammer." If we may believe him, he 
never worked better than when inspired by anger ; if 
only angry he could write, pray and preach well, his 
whole temperament and understanding being quick- 
ened, he could then rise superior to every obstacle. 



FOR an unlimited time the Turk had been a con- 
venient enemy of Rome ; if there were ever ques- 
tionable expenditures, charge them to the Turk ; if 
money was needed for whatsoever purpose, get up a 
small quarrel with the Turk, rouse the blood of the 
faithful to virtuous indignation against those base in- 
fidels, then would all wallets open and money fly to 
the rescue of Rome. Columbus said of money.: '* He 
who possesses it has the power to transport souls into 
paradise ; " and what Columbus thought seems to 
have been assumed by the powers at Rome ; at any 
rate, there never was a time when they were incon- 
venienced by an over supply. 

Near Wittenberg was the town of Jiiterbogk. 
Here lived one John Tetzel, commissioner of the 
pope, distinguished for shamelessness of tongue and 
bad morals, living even then under the ban of protec- 
tion for criminal acts. This Tetzel was selected as the 
German agent for the sale of indulgences, not by any 
means the first of the business, for since 1501 it had 
been prosecuted with more or less success elsewhere. 
Tetzel was selected evidently because of his persis- 

tency and shrewdness in the transaction of business 
affairs. Elector Frederick, of Saxony, with character- 
istic determination, put his foot down and absolutely 
refused to permit their sale in his territory. Joachim 
of Brandenburg, on the contrary, advocated them, 
even assisted at the vendue, taking'care however to 
reserve a portion of the proceeds for the purse of his 
brother Albert of Mainz, archbishop of Gotha. This 
was promising business and prospects for a larger har- 
vest of coin were good, especially with the endorse- 
ment of the archbishop .and the agency of Tetzel, 
Spiritual pardon must have been popular if there were 
many who needed it as badly as Tetzel did. The 
price of these indulgences was scaled according to the 
nature of the license and the ability of the recipient 
to pay. No crime so heinous, no performance so con- 
temptible that it could not be shielded from the ven- 
geance of heaven by these bits of parchment.* They 
■were cried in public places like penny ballads, and 
formed a part of the baggage of itinerant merchants. 
Among those who condemned the traffic in indulgences 
as a swindle and a cheat was a gentleman of Saxony, 
who heard Tetzel at Leipsic and was much shocked at 
the imposture. He went to the church and asked 
Tetzel if he was authorized to pardon the sin of inten- 
tion — or such as he intended to commit. Tetzel re- 
plied in the affirmative, and after some chaffing, the 
gentleman paid thirty crowns for an indulgence, by 
• See Appendix. 

72 Mar tut Luther. [a. d. 151s 

virtue of which he was to be forgiven for beating one 
against whom he had a grudge. 

Soon after this, Tetzel set out for Leipsic, and this 
Saxon gentleman, overtaking him in the forest of 
Juterbogk, gave him a severe drubbing, and carried 
off the box in which he had his treasures. Tetzel 
raised a great clamor for this act of violence, and 
brought an action before the judges of the district 
against the perpetrator. The latter, however, pleaded 
the indulgence and was fully acquitted. 

We have little need to question regarding Luther*s 
position in regard to this matter of the indulgences, 
even though they were endorsed by the head of the 
church, who was then also the head of all the people. 
What could the Doctors do but sit meekly by and say 
little. Luther, however, was not of this submissive 
sort. Turning to Staupitz, one day, he remarked, " I ) 
will declaim against this gross and profane error, write 
against it, do all in my power to destroy it.*' Stau- 
pitz amazed and now angry, replied ; ** What ! would 
you write against the pope? What are you about? 
They will not permit you to do this ; your head will 
go for it, and you will follow the hundred others who 
have opposed these methods ! I pray you desist." 
** Suppose they must needs permit it," continued 
Luther. The objections of Staupitz he disregarded ; 
Staupitz was subject to the powers that were ; Luther 
looked beyond these for his authority. 

Many of Tetzel's most faithful adherents deserted 

him, when they found what manner of man he was, 
betaking themselves to silence, not caring to be found 
in his company. "Servant of the pope and the devil," 
Luther called him. " Came among us selling indulgen- 
ces, practicing on the credulity of the people, I could 
not refrain from protesting against it, resolved to op- 
pose the career of this odious monk, to put the people 
on their guard against the revival of these impositions. 

" At the outset I expected to be warmly encouraged 
by the pope, for I had little more than used his own 
language as set forth in his decretals against the ra- 
pacity and extortion of the collectors." This may 
have indicated honest simplicity or the bitterest irony. 
At all events it was on the verge of fearlessness, 
where few before him had dared to venture. The 
true position of the pope, as soon as discovered, would 
have hastened a weaker man to retraction, and the 
craving of pardon. 

On the night of the vigil of all saints, 31st of Oc- . 
tober, 1517 (Hallow Eve) Luther walked through the ' 
streets alone and nailed upon the gates of the par- 
ochial church, at Wittenberg, a series of propositions, 
nijii-ty-Jive m number, in which he declared he would 
hold a series of disputations for the purpose of ex- 
plaining the power of indulgences, thus making good 
his promise to Staupitz. Sometime thereabouts Elec- 
tor Frederick in his Schweinitz castle had a dream ; 
dreams were of consequence in those days. Freder- 
ick thought he saw a monk writing certain things on 

74 Martin Luther. [A. D. 1517. 

the door of the chapel at Wittenberg castle, writing in 
so bold a hand that it could be read clear over to 
Schweinitz. While he wrote the pen grew miraculous- 
ly long, so long that it reached at last to Rome, and in 
its flourishings chanced to touch the triple crown of 
Leo X- and would have overthrown it but that the 
Elector jumped out of bed in time to save it and 
found that he was only dreaming. 

Wittenberg and vicinity were set on fire by the 
audacity of these propositions, not with a sudden and 
explosive flame, but as if long smouldering embers 
had now been fanned into life by the breath of intrep- 
idity. The preamble set forth that : " From a desire 
to elicit the truth, the following theses will be main- 
tained at Wittenberg under the presidency of the Rev. 
Father, Martin Luther, of the order of the Augustines, 
master of arts, master and lecturer in theology. He 
asks that such as are not able to dispute verbally with 
him will do so in writing. In the name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, amen." * Nearly every article of these 
propositions was directed against the indulgence busi- 
ness and its promoters in Germany. Luther had diplo- 
matic insight enough to see that no good could come 
to Germany or to any other state for that matter, when 
wares like these were hawked about the streets ; an in- 
satiable leech hung upon every purse, imposing upon 
many absolute want and penury. He honestly believed 

* An epitome of these ninety-five theses may be found in the ap- 
pendix. Also a transcript of one of the indulgences. 


that if the pope were cognizant of the extortions of the 
indulgence preachers, " He would rather the metro- 
politan church of St. Peter were burned to ashes than 
see it built with the skin and the flesh and bones of 
his sheep," The ostensible direction of the money 
collected through indulgences, was the building of St. 
Peter's; as a fact, however, it went into the private 
purse of the pope's sister. 

At the time of the publication of these theses, Tet- 
zel was at Frankfort on the Oder, engaged there in his 
traffic under the endorsement of the archbishop of 
Mainz. Luther's bold pronunciamento was not long 
in reaching his ears. Its influence upon his trade af- 
fected him more seriously than any theological signifi- 
cance. Fulminating with rage and alarm, he pro- 
ceeded at once to offset it by frenzied harangues and 
the publication of a series of opposing resolutions. 
Full of invective and blasphemy, bristling with the bad 
temper for which Tetzel was notorious, these resolu- 
tions outnumbered if they did not outweigh those of 
Luther, He supplemented them too by a new set, 
these last of a theological order, and, taking them as a 
basis, he claimed the privilege of being put on the list 
for doctrinal honors. With a view to effect, he burned 
the propositions of Luther publicly in the city of 
Frankfort. The smoke from that burning paper wunt 
out over Germany almost as rapidly as did the words 
of Luther, There was a tremor in the balance of pub- 
lic opinion. National and individual liberty on the 

76 Martin J^uther. [A. D. 1517 

one side, vassalage and dependence on the other. . 
Poverty and distance were serious obstacles to the in- 
terchange of opinion on the part of the peasantry who, 
scattered through the forests, stood there in uncer- 
tainty, asking ** what next ? " Substantially education 
was all in one direction ; fealty to the church first, 
loyalty to the state afterward, personal, piety nowhere, 
for this detracted too much from the power of the 
church regnant, and so was discouraged. Simultane- 
ously with the posting of these ninety-five propositions, 
Luther wrote a letter to Albert, archbishop of Mainz, 
explaining what he had done and why he had done it. 
All this time he was in entire ignorance of the fact 
that half the money secured by indulgences was re- 
tained by the archbishop himself.^ 

This letter contained the marrow of his proposi- 
tions, elucidating as far as possible his motive in tak- 
ing this course. It was written upon the same day 
with the propositions. 

Upon that Sunday of All Saints, at Wittenberg, 
hinged an unapprehended future. No one, not even 
Luther himself, dreamed or hoped this twig, set in the 
mid-stream of Christianity, would divert the torrent 
of fifteen centuries, and in time divide it. No one 

* Albert was a young man of only twenty-four, with no particular 
theological bias, politic and prudent, with a heart of strong German 
sympathy, but outwardly and professedly a strong champion of Rome ; 
kept so by a financial entanglement which he saw no other way out of. 
The indulgence traffic was making good a weakened credit and lining 
bis purse 


foresaw the fierce baptism of blood which was to fol- 
low the war of words. Luther was seeking to engraft 
no new faith. The slave of no personal ambition, he 
sought only to hold the church solidly upon its scrip- 
tural foundation. His sermon on that historic Sun- 
day was exceptional for temperateness and mild logic* 
With cairn deliberation he maintained the substance of 
his theses, step by step, as he had pronounced them ; 
as yet his adversaries were silent. 

All these years of study and labor he had studi- 
ously watched the tide of popular feeling, had applied 
the touchstone to public sentiment and well knew the 
temper of those about him. He knew too that seri- 
ous, thoughtful men would look favorably upon his 
declarations, and even then would not believe that the 
aversion of the pope was of such a degree that it 
would uphold the scheme of these crafty lieutenants. 
Luther saw the matter from only one standpoint : 
" The just shall live by faith," Of the schemes of diplo- 
macy and finance of the church he took no cognizance. 
To him the church was the source of spiritual teach- 
ing : he did not reckon on the vastness and complexity 
of its other machinery, a subject of more interest Just 
then than doctrine and devotion. The means of pro- 
curing money were of little consequence so that it was 
got in plenty. Luther's attack on indulgences was not 
necessarily so formidable as that of Cardinal Ximenes, 
of Spain; had not the weight of authority back of it, 
* See Appendix, 

78 Martin Luther. [A, D. 1517. 

but its motive was different. Ximenes wanted all the 
money for himself; Luther wanted only sincere piety, 
akin to that which he read of in his Bible, not a mawk- 
ish show of forms, but a living personal faith. 

Germany was becoming more and more opposed to 
the centralization of power at Rome. About this time 
too she was slowly emerging from the confusion of 
tongues which had so long militated against her ad- 
vancement. Aside from the influence of Luther, she 
was on the ascending plane, the sciences and arts were 
growing symmetrical. 

Contemporaneous with the youthful and vigorous 
Wittenberg university was that of Frankfort on the 
Oder. The two occupied places theologically antag- 
onistic. To Frankfort Tetzel now addressed himself, 
enlisting as his champions, Conrad Koch and Wimpina, 
learned and influential men, familiar with debate, and 
not unwilling to execute Tetzel's commissions. They 
wrote propositions directed against all the faculty of 
Wittenberg, but particularly against Luther. 

James Hochstraten, inquisitor of Cologne, who 
had already piped himself hoarse against Reuchlin, 
entered the lists also. Hochstraten was no driveller. 
He advocated the rack, the pyre, the gibbet and other 
uncomfortable methods of discipline for Luther and 
his following. Leo X. made light of the affair and 
charged it to " Monkish quarreling and too much wine.** 
** When they get sober again,"* he said, '* they will re- 
pent of it, for Fra Luther is a man of fine genius." 

Thunder was now everywhere breeding in the air. 
Strong men were rising up on both sides, either in 
defense of principles or 'from motives of policy. Even 
Luther flinched before the ominous storm. The 
printing-press, now an important factor, had already 
scattered his propositions far and wide ; they were 
upon the lips of every one who could read, and in the 
hearts of every one who could appreciate the gravity 
of their meaning. "I'm sorry," said he, "to see 
them so extensively printed and distributed." When 
he beheld the eagerness of the people, he doubted 
the wisdom of his own course, wished he had 
taken a little more time in which to mature his 
ideas, but the result of what he had done was some- 
thing not to be foreseen. From every side came 
upon him now tidings pro and con. Though he 
could not so understand it, this was truly the incep- 
tion of a mighty revolution. 



ON further thinking of it the necessity of an ad- 
dress to the pope from Luther's own hand 
became obvious. The very inference, that he might 
be the agent in dismantling the ancient and beloved 
church, that his act might possibly offer vantage- 
ground for the opponents of the religion of Christ, 
was overwhelming. " I was attacked," he writes, " and 
misrepresented. The malevolence of Tetzel and Eck 
I knew well, nor was I mistaken, for I learned that 
everywhere they were assiduously inculcating among 
the people that I was an obstinate heretic, an enemy 
of all religion and a dangerous man to be left at large. 
By playing upon the credulity of the people they 
would like to place me in the light of a beast, fit only 
to be hunted down. All this time they carried on 
their detestable traffic in indulgences, binding poor 
souls more firmly in the chains of an odious despotism. 
To show the world the character of these men and 
protect the people from their machinations, I wrote 
to Pope Leo a most submissive letter; at that time 
my eyes being not fully opened to the abominations 

at Rome. 1 may err, but a heretic I will not be, let 
my eiicinies rage and rail as they wiU," 

We are now passed into the spring of 1518, this 
letter to the pope having been written in that year. 
Time enough for a calm to have succeeded the tem- 
pest which raged since the promulgation of the theses, 
but the calm did not come ; national pride as well as 
religious zeal was at its maximum ; here in Germany- 
national pride was growing vastly. Maximilian, then 
wearing the imperial crown of Germany,' said to Elector 
Frederick, " Take good care of that monk," would 
doubtless have taken good care of him himself but his 
days were creeping apace, and already he was looking 
forward to his successor. 

Luther himself was nearly on the point of retreat 
from his assumed position ; might have retreated had 
he listened attentively to the conservative, inaggressive 
voices about him. He pursued his course at the 
university in the accustomed way, was found in his 
place at the appointed time, and listened to more re- 
spectfully tlian before. The prospect of a sanguinary 
conflict evidently confronted him. He shrunk from 
the responsibility of plunging the whole Christian 
world into tumult, and would doubtless have gone 
quietly forward to the end of his days in the pur- 
suit of his calling, but the gauntlet he had thrown 
down was eagerly caught up. Such howlings and 
ravings came from every side as would have driven 
a more timid man mad; the world of theology was 

82 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1518. 

flying upon him with the weapons of innuendo 
hatred and contempt. He was no churl to stand 
inanely by and receive abuse ; not given over to that 
meekness and diluted manhood misnamed ** pious 
submission." Luther became mad, righteously mad, 
and hurled back such emphatic replies that the whole 
firmament of letters was ablaze . with a new light. 
Many of these emanations were evolved in the heat of 
passion, were harsh and unmanly, barren of logic and 
of little value to his cause. Instinct assumed ascend- 
ency over the usually masterful man ; he was for the 
time disconcerted by the suddenness and ferocity of 
these attacks, many of them coming as they did from 
those whose sincere friendship he had hitherto enjoyed. 

Dr. John Mair, of Eck, professor of theology at 
Ingoldstadt, Bavaria, commonly known as ** Dr. Eck," 
was a persistent and formidable opponent of Luther 
and his school. Hitherto Eck and Luther had been 
sympathetic friends. Eck was a profound and fearless 
scholar, a man of large reputation and influence. 

This opposition came with particular severity, and 
put Luther to his mettle. At every step in the lengthy 
discussion that followed, Dr. Eck sought as we shall 
see to confuse and confound his old friend. 

Notwithstanding Luther's assurances to the pope, 
authoritative censure was likely to be visited upon 
him. Tho!nas l.)e V'^io, of Gaeta (or Cajetan, he being 
known commonly only by this latter name) had taken 
the matter in hand and demanded from Luther a retrac- 


tion. The latter had previously been summoned to 
Rome to give an account of himself, but through the 
influence of Elector Frederick and the Wittenberg imi- 
versity, the place of inquest was transferred to Ger- 
man soil, "Our prince," says Luther, "has taken 
Carlstadt and myself under his protection, and with- 
out any solicitation on our part. He will not permit 
them to drag me to Rome, and this vexes them." 
The free city of Augsburg was selected, and Cajetan 
was to be the inquisitor. The theological atmosphere 
of Augsburg was not exactly what Cajutan desired; 
atmosphere had much to do with theological results 
about this time, Wittenberg people were exultant 
at the result of their efforts, and the present overru!inp[ 
of the cardinal by the tennporal power was signifi- 
cant ; heretofore the cardinals had been arbitrary in 
this matter, here was a new order of things. To bring 
about so desirable a change, all Luther's friends had 
labored assiduously, new friends developed with influ- 
ence strong enough to be heard favorably at the papal 
court. Cajetan was chagrined at these slightings of 
his authority. 

( At Heidelberg, whither Luther had been in the 
spring of 1518, to attend the chapter general of the 
order of Augustine, he had made a deep and lasting 

During Luther's journey, a noble knight of the 
vicinity, learning that he was to tarry at a certain 
place, and yearning for the honors and emoluments 

84 Martin Luther. [A. D. 1518 

that would accrue, could he be safely caught up and 
transported to Rome, resolved to hazard the attempt. 
He ordered his armed retinue to prepare hastily, for 
there was no time to be lost, the aspiring noble being 
urged and com.mended to the task by his confessor, 
who assured him that he would be doing a good work 
and would save many souls. He set out at early dawn, 
making his way along the picturesque Berg Strasse or 
mountain road that skirts the forest of the Odenwald 
between Darmstadt and Heidelberg. Arriving at the 
gates of Miltenburg in the evening, he found the city 
illuminated and the town itself full of people who had 
come thither to hear and see Luther. 

More indignant than ever was the noble knight; 
indignation grew to rage when, arriving at his hotel, 
the host greeted him, '* Well, well. Sir Count, has Lu- 
ther brought you here too ? Pity you are too late. 
You should have heard him. The people cannot cease 
praising him.** In no mood for eulogy, the knight 
sought the privacy of his room. Awakened in the 
morning by the matin bell of the chapel, sleep had 
assuaged his ire and his thoughts were at home where 
he had left an infant daughter at the point of death. 
As he drew aside his curtain he saw the flicker of a 
candle in the window opposite, and waiting a moment 
heard a deep, manly voice utter the words ** in the 
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost, Amen.** He heard the voice further continuing 
in a strong, fervent petition for the whole Christian 

:ities and Doubts. 

church and the victory of the holy gospel over sin 

and the world. 

Being a devout man, his interest was aroused, and, 

donning his armor, he inquired of the landlord, who 
that earnest man was that he heard across the street. 
"That earnest man," responded the landlord, " is the 
arch heretic Luther himself. Has your grace a mes- 
sage for him ?" " Aye," said the knight, " but I will 
deliver it with my own lips," and with a dubious shake 
of the head he crossed the street, entered the house, 
and in a moment stood before the object of his search. 
Luther instinctively arose from hjs chair, surprised and 
not a little disconcerted by the sudden appearance of 
a stalwart armed knight, perhaps having an unpleasant 
suspicion of his errand. " What is the object of this 
visit?" inquired Luther. Twice and thrice he re- 
peated his question before receiving a reply. At 
length the knight, having recovered somewhat from 
the spell upon him, said, " Sir, you are far better than 
L God forgive me for intending to harm you. I 
came here to make you a prisoner, you have made a 
prisoner of me instead. It is impossible for a man 
who can pray as you pray to be an enemy of the holy 
church, a heretic." " God be praised," said Luther, 
now relieved from his suspicions, " it is His word and 
spirit that has subdued you, not mine, though I may 
be chosen to bring His word to honor in Christendom. 
Go now your way therefore in peace, my lord. He 
that hath begun a good work in you will perform it to 

86 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1518. 

Christ's coming. If it be God's will you shall yet be 
hold miracles ; how the Lord will break many swords 
like yours and cut the spear in sunder as he has to- 
day." Convinced and confirmed, the knight lost no 
time in making his way homeward, attended by his 
retinue, now still more curious to know the object of 
this hasty expedition. Arriving at the bedside of his 
daughter he found her now convalescent and out of 
danger, and falling on his knees he thanked God for all 
that had happened. A few years later when Luther 
confessed ^his faith before Charles V., among the assem- 
bled nobles who stood on Luther's side was this knight 
who had once sought to overthrow and destroy him. 

The ancient and splendid ruin of Heidelberg castle 
which clings to the hillside of the Neckar, was then the 
princely residence of Count Palatine Wolfgang, Duke 
of Bavaria. There, with Lange and Staupitz, Luther 
was an honored guest, bearing an autographic endorse- 
ment from Elector Frederick, and" entertained with 
noble hospitality. 

In the Augustine monastery at Heidelberg, Lu- 
ther maintained a disputation, five doctors of divinity 
opposing him ; so courteously was the whole affair 
conducted that every one of the distinguished auditors 
was surprised and gratified. They rose from it, if not 
convinced, at least deeply impressed. " He is like 
Erasmus," said the Heidelberg critics, "except that 
he openly professes what Erasmus is satisfied with 

■*^t- 35.] Luther's Perplexities and Doubts. 87 

The immediate effect of Lutlier's diversion was 
most visible in the scholastic world ; it erected, or pro- 
jected rather, a new school for which public opinion 
since Tauler's time had been gradually preparing itself. 
In all of Luther's theses there is not one proposition 
which had not suggested itself previously to others. 
Political and religious conditions had evolved them ; 
they were not invented to gratify the caprice of dispu- 
tatious ambition, Erasmus had long been impressed 
with like truths, but evaded their publication ; others 
too were conscious of them but lacked the qualities 
essential in their maintenance. Now, however, that 
one had come forward willing to express long-felt con- 
victions, everything was clmnged. With no more in- 
fluential title than that of Doctor of Divinity, with no 
traditions of gentle birth, except such as the pastorals 
and georgics of Thuringian foiests could bestow, he 
had yet enough of that vigorous determination which 
gives permanency to new philosophy and starts the 
growing world afresh in new directions. Vanity of 
personal ambition, or the promptings of hatred alone, 
must have entirely failed in the exploit. 

Besides Elector Frederick and Spalatin, Staupitz, 
Carlstadt and many others, Luther had one friend 
withal, who, if he lacked the vehemence of the mas- 
ter possessed other- qualities which have given him at 
least the second place in the progress of events. 
Luther was a tempest, this man was oil upon the 
waters. When the tempest raged fiercest, he tem- 

I water; 

88 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1518 

pered it with mildness, healed the wounds inflicted in 
debate, and broke the weapons which threatened to 
destroy the whole cause. 

Fifteen years Luther's junior, he was born of 
equally humble parentage, in the Lower Palatinate ; 
his father's name was Schwartzerd (Black earth,) but 
like his tutor Reuchlin and other scholars of his time, 
he preferred the Greek appellative, so became Melanc- 
thon. As a lecturer at Tubingen University, he had 
come to correspond with Luther. This correspond- 
ence succeeded to a life-long friendship. All through 
the stormy scenes of coming years Luther was his 
debtor ; but for his industry, much that we now 
have would have been lost to us ; he having care- 
fully preserved the data and much casual conversation 
of his time. 

We have already seen that Luther was a letter- 
writer as well as a speech-maker. The reputation he 
had established at Wittenberg, even before his icono- 
clastic proceeding, attracted the attention and admira- 
tion of every scholar then living. Now that he was 
attacked by a legion of adversaries, many of these 
gathered about him, a cordon of learning and reso- 
luteness. Those who expected to see Luther stand- 
ing alone, were surprised at the strength and dignity 
of his following. The politician was there as well as 
the theologian ; politicians in those days were not 
unlike those of the present, they were there for a pur- 
pose. What purpose we may see as the contest pro- 

^t. 35] Luthet^s Perpleocitie^ and Doubts. 8g 

gresses. Tetzel sent an agent to Wittenberg with 
copies of his theses ; the students there got hold of 
and burned them pubUcIy. Luther himself denies 
any part in this proceeding. He wrote to Lange, at 
Erfurt, deploring the act as unworthy the cause and 
of no effect in the prosecution of his scheme. Every 
act of his during the early times of his tempestuous 
trouble assures us of the total absence of any striving 
for personal aggrandizement. 

Christian Scheurl, town counsellor of Nuremberg, 
took Luther to task for not publishing his theses him- 
self. Luther replied in a kindly letter, that he never 
had expected such a publicity for them ; he had merely 
sought some discussion with those about him on the 
subject, that he might establish points in his own 
mind. " If I had thought they would have made such 
an impression," says Luther, " there are some proposi- 
tions 1 would have left out and others that I would 
have asserted with greater confidence. They contain 
some points, too, still questionable." When Luther 
discovered the magnitude of the work he had under- 
taken he was for a time disconcerted, wrote volumin- 
ously trying to explain his motives, and sought to 
allay the tumult, but political complications in Ger- 
many were following fast upon theological discussion, 
which had now extended to the hmits of Christendom, 
gathering strength and increasing impetuosity as it 
went ; retreat and retraction would now avail nothing. 



'IT WITTENBERG had become a theatre of events ; 
\ w all eyes were directed toward the little city in 
the forest : the universitv was crowded with earnest 
and anxious students desirous of sitting under the 
great teachers there. What Ascham later on did for 
the native tongue of England. Luther was now doing 
for Germanv. In both localities the effort to maintain 
the classical languages was also an effort to keep the 
poor and illiterate in ignorance. Great scholars were 
demi-gods and oracles. What they said and did had 
as much weight with the unlettered as the utterances 
of a prince or a law of the State. Few if any held in- 
dependent opinions and they believed what they heard 
according to the eminence of its source. 

Maximilian, in the hope of becoming arbitrator in 
the dispute now raging, aspired to the papal chair ; 
but his days were waning and efforts consequently 
feeble. The efforts of Elector Frederick with the curia 
carried much more weight and received prompt atten- 
tion ; he was a man of arms and resolution, abundantly 
discreet withal. Frederick had given ample evidence 
of his friendliness in his resolute efforts for the safe- 

[*t. 35, Called to Accoun-t at Atigsbtirg, gi 

conduct of Luther whithersoever the powers might 
command him; and in his successful demand that the 
inquisition in Luther's case should be held on German 
soil, the Roman party showed him much deference. 

Although alarmed at the imprudence and impetu- 
osity of Luther, he still held over and about him a pro- 
tection against bodily harm so considerate and effective 
that none assailed him, although there are instances 
when Luther was followed through the streets by 
armed assassins, ready to take his life but not willing 
to accept the consequences ; they well knew the reso- 
lute character of his following. 

Notwithstanding the volume of affairs incidental 
to his digression, Luther still continued without ces- 
sation at the post of lecturer, confining himself now 
largely to the elucidation of the scriptures. There 
is little doubt that had he kept quietly to the pur- 
suit of his university affairs, the noisy confusion of 
intemperate debate would have ceased. That was 
out of the question now ; the host had arrayed itself 
for war, loved it in fact, and there was nothing to do 
but fight. Thus far the battle had been an epistolary 
one of such voluminousness that it constitutes the 
substance of many ponderous volumes in the libraries 
at Leipsic, Frankfort and elsewhere. Luther was 
deeply afflicted at the concern and anxiety of his 
friends, who all came in for a share of abuse from his 
detractors. Some laid it at this one's door and some 
at that. Elector Frederick was one of the principal 


92 Martin Luther. [A. D. 1518, 

objects of indignation. " Here are brawlers," writes 
Luther to Spaktin, " who go about to my infinite vex- 
ation, saying that all this is the work of our illustrious 
prince ; that he urged us to it to spite the archbishop 
of Magdeburg and Mainz. I am truly afflicted to 
see him suspected on my account." A few days later, 
however, under the relentless pCessure which his op- 
ponents were bringing against him, he urges Spalatin 
to use his kind offices with the Elector in order that 
he shall be refused safe-conduct to Rome, thus giving 
him an excuse for non-appearance there. The Elector, 
without Lather's knowledge, had before this exerted 
himself in favor of Augsburg, Letters also had gone 
forward from the university to the pope, urging the 
same concession. 

At the gates of Wittetiberg one October morning, 
1518, the populace of the little city gathered to bid 
god-speed to Luther, now on his way to Augsburg, 
They greeted him with "Luther forever! Long live 
Luther!" "Christ and his word forever!" replied 
Luther, half chidingly. " Courage, master, and God 
go with you," say the crowd, and Luther responds 
" Amen." Part way along the road they followed 
him, then as they left him he lifted up his eyes and 
said, " Into thy hands, Heavenly Father, I commit my- 

Arduous labor consequent upon recent events had 
taxed to the utmost the physical strength of Luther ; 
his journey to Augsburg was slow and painful. At 

Weitnar, however, he was well enough to preach to 
the multitude that gathered on a Sunday to hear him. 
At Nuremberg he was received by his friend Linck 
and a brother monk, named Leonard. Before leaving 
this place they supplied him with more presentable 
garments and a vehicle, he being now quite exhausted 
by his ailments and the fatigue of the journey. These 
two friends went with him to his destination. 

Once at Augsburg his first duty is to write a letter 
to Melancthon at Tubingen. The tone of the letter 
is despondent even to pathos. He speaks of himself 
as the probable victim of a conflagration, of the many 
who arc anxious to see him in the flames. " But for 
you and those about you." he continues, "I am ready 
to be sacrificed if such be the will of Heaven. I am 
not only ready to die, but, what were far worse to me, 
to be deprived of your dear society, rather than retract 
the truths I have maintained, or be the means of af- 
fording the stupid and bitter enemies of liberal studies 
and elegant learning an opportunity of achieving a 
triumph. Italy is prostrate in Egyptian darkness, and 
her people are ignorant of Christ and of those who 
love Christ. But we know some influential men who 
regard true religion. The wrath of God may be ad- 
ministered by our agency, as it is written, ' I will 
make their princes as children, and the feeble shall 
reign over them.' Farewell, beloved Melancthon, and 
avert the wrath of God from us by your faithlul 

Ambitious Cajetan, now raised to an importance 
he had long aspired to, made haste to impress upon 
the people of Augsburg a d ue sense of his proportions. ' 
The honorable post of cardinal being supplemented 
by that of papal legate, he surrounded himself with all 
the embellishments which a liberal use of money and 
vanity could bestow, expecting to strike dumb every 
beholder by splendor of display and pure force of mil- 
linery. He rode through the streets upon a white 
palfrey, caparisoned with crimson velvet and followed 
by a retinue of servitors. His appointments were of 
corresponding splendor. Every ceremony in which 
he took part was attended with such posturings and 
punctilious gravity that it even excited the levity of 
his old master of ceremonies and the contempt, instead 
of the admiration of the citizens. Cajetan's plans for 
the conquest of the world, and nothing less, by the 
Roman church, were elaborate. Just how successful 
this paragon of gold lace was we shall see when the 
German crown is without a head under it. 
him, just now, with the simple monk who had set all 
the world in an uproar, riding through the streets of 
the city in a peasant's wagon. 

Luther had been warned against any communica- 
tion with the Italians ; notwithstanding this one, Urban 
di Sierra Longa pressed himself upon his presence and 
urged him to recant. Urban had been commissioned, 
with many others, to aid in maintaining by such means 
as these the authority of the Church over Germany, 


which had thus far been a powerful and valuable aux- 
iliary ; too valuable indeed to lose, every effort was 
made to conciliate or cajole it. 

Luther's examination before the ecclesiastical court 
amounted to nothing, although it was organized and 
conducted with a view to impressing upon behold- 
ers its august significance and vast consequence. 
Luther fell upon his knees before the cardinal, by 
whom he was received with condescension, and was 
thrice bid to rise before he complied. Cajetan urged 
Luther to retract ; in fact, the ultimatum of his first 
conversation rested upon this one point. Luther 
must retract, else were there no recourse but a formal 
trial, and then no telling what might be the conse- 
quences. In the presence of the legate, Luther had 
the good sense to preserve perfect equanimity, even to 
humor. He could not but have observed that the 
sympathy of the concourse that heard the harangues 
was with him, and he quickly got at the intellectual 
boundaries of his inquisitor. 

" What 1 ■' cried Cajetan, " thinkest thou the pope 
cares a whit for Germany? Why, with his little finger 
he can overturn all Germany.* Do you think that 
your princes will rise, with their armies, and defend 
you? Do not delude yourself ; you will be without de- 
fence; where then "will you hide? " " Under Heaven," 
replied Luther. " No, no," continued Cajetan, " there 

* The impression pievaited at Rome, thai: a slighl shuw of force 
would speedily put an end to the whole diliiculiy. 

96 Martin Luther. [a. d. 151s. 

is no safety for you, except to retrace the steps you 
have taken : retract ; retract ; take back that proposi- 
tion, that "the merits of Christ are not the treasure of 
the indulgences ? See what the ^Untgenitus * of Clem- 
ent VI. says of it." 

** The legate thought I knew nothing of this," 
writes Luther; ** but after many efforts to make him 
listen to me, I raised my voice and said : * If you can 
show me that your decretal of Clement VI. says ex- 
pressly, that the merits of Christ are the treasure of 
the indulgences, I will and do retract.' Lord! what a 
laugh was there at this. The Cardinal was vexed ; 
and snatching the book fumbled over the pages till 
he came to this, * Christ by his passion acquired the 
treasure.* At the word, " acquired,** I interrupt- 
ed him and held an argument thereon ; and the Car- 
dinal was himself forced to smile at some of my rea- 

Cajetan labored also with Staupitz and Linck, even 
had the grace to appoint these two as mediators ; a 
concession which Luther hastened to recognize in a 
letter to the inquisitor ; " I present myself,*' he says, 
** before you again, my father, but only in a letter. I 
have seen our vicar, John Staupitz, and my brother, 
Master Wenceslaus Linck; you could itot have se- 
lected mediators more agreeable to me. I am moved 
at what I have heard. I have no longer any fear : the 
fear I experienced is changed into filial love and re- 
spect. You were at full liberty to make use of force ; 

•*t. 35,1 Called to Acconvt at Ait^xbnrg. 97 

you have chosen rather to employ persuasion and 
charitable kindness. 

" I fully admit that I have been violent, hostile, in- 
solent, towards the pope. I should have treated so 
grave a matter with more reverence. I am penitent 
for my conduct; I solicit your pardon for it. in the 
eyes of all men, and I promise you that henceforward 
I will speak and act in an entirely different manner. 
I wili say nothing further about indulgences, provided 
you will impose the same silence on those who have 
brought me into this deplorable position. 

" As to the retraction, reverend sir, which you and 
our vicar require of me with such pertinacity, my con- 
science wiil not permit me to give it ; and there is 
nothing In the world, neither command nor counsel, 
nor the voice of friendship, nor of mere prudence, 
which could induce me to act against my conscience. 
There remains but one voice to be heard, which has 
higher claims than any other: that of the bride, which 
is the same with the voice of the bridegroom. 

" I, therefore, in all humility, supplicate you to 
bring this affair immediately under the eyes of our 
holy father. Pope Leo X., so that the church may def- 
initely pronounce what is to be believed, and what re- 

This letter was forwarded to Rome by a special 
courier. The conference, after some discussion and 
bandying of words, ended with the legate's command 
for Luther to leave the place, and come no more be- 


Martin Luther. 

fore him, unless it was to retract all and ask humble 
forgivenijss for what he had done, " Your Reverence 
has seen my obedience in this great journey I have 
undertaken," writes Luther in a letter of October 
i8th, " infirm as I am in body, poor, without the 
means of living. I cannot remain longer here, losing 
my time, and being a charge to the dear fathers Car- 
melite, who have lodged and entertained me. I go, 
therefore, confiding in God." 

During his stay in Augsburg, Luther had been re- 
peatedly urged to preach there ; better counsels, how- 
ever, prevailed ; at least it would have been an ill- 
timed proceeding, and inimical to his case. He, know- 
ing well the animus of his opponents, and their entire 
willingness to resort to summary expedients for making 
-away with him, so wished to give them no apology. 

Several ambitious persons had secretly informed 
Cajetan of their willingness to undertake the task of 
disposing of Luther. They could have done so with- 
out difficulty so far as Luther himself was concerned, 
for he was careless of his person, and exposed himself 
unnecessarily. His friends, however, were not with- 
out knowledge of the dangers ; on the contrary he was 
watched night and day, and enjoyed a protection which 
he knew not of, his own friends as well as others espe- 
cially appointed by Elector Frederick being continually 
near him. Cajetan himself would not have hesitated 
to warrant the undertaking, but was farsighted enough 
to see that it would be Impolitic ; knew too that he 

would be held responsible by the resolute people who 
had espoused Luther's citusc, and so wiia nnxioiis to 
hurry him out of his domain. 

Already Rome had issued preliminary notice of the 
bull of excommunication Ag.iinitt Luther, allhiiUKh 
the news of it had not yet reached Augsburn, and 
that, with zeaious partisans, was cquiviilcnt to « price 
upon his head : heretics, with them, hiid no n||(htii 
which they were bound to respect, being only proper 
subjects for the stake and (gibbet. 

The Romans were also making pcrsintcnt ."ippllcu 
tion to Elector I-'rederick for the delivery of Luther 
into their hands. Cajetan wanted to be rid of him ; 
so complained to Frederick, and urged him to hanlcti 
the monk's departure from AuRBburg. Miltitz, loo, 
was on his way from Rome with peremptory demands 
for the custody of Luthcr'a person. 

Altogether conditions did not look favorable for 
Luther's further stay in the city. Staupitz and liiii 
friends having provided a horse and (fuidc, Lutlicr left 
Augsburg at midnight, accompanied only by Lanyc- 
mantel, who conducted him through obscure »trcctt 
in order to avoid observation. Next morning Lu- 
ther's appeal was found fastened to the gates of the 
Carmelite convent where he had lodged ; put there by 
a monk, but by knowledge and authority of his iiufMr- 
nurs. Search was made for the dvtng offender, but 
he had taken himself away. 

"Fears death!" says Ulrich .VQn Ilutten to one 

lOO Martin Luther. [A. D. 1518. 

who reflected on Luther's hasty departure ; " there is 
no one in all Germany who knows so little of the fear 
of it as Luther ; he despises it.** 

** Nothing now stands in the way of Luther*s cap- 
ture but Wittenberg University and the elector,*' said 
the Bishop of Brandenburg ; but there was much else. 

Miltitz brought with him the consecrated Golden 
Rose, as a sort of sop with which to conciliate the 
Elector Frederick. This temptation was one of con- 
sideration, an honor seldom conferred upon any but 
kings ; and Frederick hesitated before giving his an- 
swer regarding its acceptance. As matters turned in 
the future, however, it is well that Frederick concluded, 
at last, not to receive the distinction. Instead of it he 
wrote a politic letter to the pope, which, while it ac- 
knowledged faithful allegiance, still maintained that no 
competent judges had yet heard and passed upon 
Luther's case. All this time Luther was suffering 
not qnly the pains of mental distress, but physical 
debility also ; a deranged stomach weakened and de- 
pressed him. Nothing but his own manfulness, and 
the fortitude of friends about him now maintained the 
struggle. The oppbsition was strong, and promises for 
the coming new year anything but favorable. 



WE may readily see that Germany, as a part of 
the Christian world, had, up to this time, la- 
bored under peculiar disadvantages; wanted concre- 
meiit and individuality ; wanted a prevailing dialect, 
one of the strongest allies of national unity ; sympathy 
could not be complete without it. She wanted a col- 
lective conference; one in which the various interests 
could be harmonized by immediate intercourse. Now 
each city was a walled town, at odds with its neighbor, 
and jealous of every advantage. The intervening for- 
ests were battle-grounds, where the princes settled their 
di?;putes by an appeal to the sword. Rome exercised 
authority over these millions of people, nor is it strange 
that she sought to perpetuate the confusion, for that 
alone insured her supremacy. 

In the sixteenth century Germany was speedily 
attaining an advanced position among nations. The 
Basle press, kept busy by Erasmus, was spreading 
over this country, as well as others, the seed of a new, 
era. People who had eyes were learning how to use 
them, instead of trusting to the eyes of others. Peo- 
ple who had tongues, too, were growing testy. 

I02 Martin Luther. [A. d. 15 19. 

I I *i 

The very idea of transplanting the classics to a na- 
tive tongue had been abhorrent to most scholars ; 
when, however, the preservation of nationality, inde- 
pendence, and political events demanded it, there was 
no other way but that of submission. 

It is possible that religious events might have 
rested awhile just now. Both parties were upon un- 
certain ground, and expediency would have demanded 
a truce ; but the death of Maximilian, in January, 
1 5 19, complicated affairs. Passive as may have been 
his late years, owing to age and loss of influence, his 
methods had been discreet and favorable to Germany. 
Now, however, conditions were changed ; a collision 
between the church and the state was imminent in 
the selection of one to fill the place made vacant. 
Here, at this time it was, that the tenure of Roman 
arbitration over Germany first began to slacken. Just 
now, instead of seeking to conciliate the peasant popu- 
lation of the German provinces, Rome became toward 
them more exacting than ever ; put contempt on them 
in every possible way, until " Christian liberty" be- 
came the rallying cry and distributed itself wherever 
the German tongue was spoken. ** We have had quite 
enough of this Italian dictation,** said they; '* they cry 
us down, call us blockheads and fools, yet do not halt 
in their efforts to own us. They call us babes in the 
arts, yet steal the monogram of Albert Durer to put 
upon their pictures, and spirit away our musicians to 
play their pipe organs.** 


Ulrich von Hutten had now come upon the scene; 
with more impetuosity than discretion, he wielded 
alike the pen and the sword. There are abundant 
evidences of his remarkable ability, and he put himself 
at once in the midst of the conflict. With a little 
more diplomacy in his composition, he would have 
been a most valuable acquisition, but the traditions of 
faust-recht were deep in him ; if he could not by rea- 
son convince his adversary, he would knock his head 
off, Hutten became a powerful adherent of Luther's 
principles; would have been glad to cake the contest 
from the schools into the field and fight it out there; 
but good judgment was everywhere opposed to sum- 
mary proceedings; men of more discretion than him- 
self were controlling events, Franci.s of Sickingen, in 
Franconia, another nobleman of like tendencies, also 
espoused the cause of Luther ; offered him a secure and 
safe retreat in hi.i castle ; in the face of Luther's pro- 
tests set out on an expedition against the Bishop of 
Treves, with an army of twelve thousand men; fell 
upon his territory and devastated it, returning home 
only when the bishop had been reinforced by his 
friends. This was among the expiring efforts of 
faust-rfcht. Sickingen fell by the sword in the fol- 
lowing year. 

The states were in a fair way of estrangement from 
each other ; that meant hostility and blood. Ambi- 
tious monarchs, however, were providentially stirred 
up to aspirations for the German crown. That unitiid 

I04 Martin Luther. [a. d. 15 19. 

Germany. They decided upon a prince of their own 
blood, resolute in their deternnination that Germans 
should rule Germany. It so fell that Frederick, Elec- 
tor of Saxony, held the casting vote in the election of 
. a new emperor. All eyes were upon him ; the weight 
of responsibility then was not a light one, but Freder- 
ick was intrepid. On the twenty-eighth of June, 
Archduke Charles, of Austria, Prince of Burgundy, 
King of Spain, was declared chosen. So the foreign 
crown-seekers remained at home, and concluded that 
Germany was getting away somewhat from infantile 
dependence, being able to walk alone now without 
both hands on the papal chair. Charles took the 
throne under conditions more favorable to Germany 
than any that had hitherto existed. If there were 
breathings of religious revolution, it was in his power 
to make the tide of events entirely favorable to the 
state and the permanent betterment of her people. 
Germany was hastening to avail herself of advantages 
in science, art and philosophy, establishing the founda- 
tions of that structure which has since grown to such 
dignified and graceful proportions. 

At the time of the tempting offer of the conse- 
crated rose to Frederick, Luther's position was one of 
anxiety and doubt. Frederick's acceptance of the 
proffered honor doubtless would have ended Luther's 
part in the drama. Luther was on the point of go- 
ing to France, but at the solicitation of Spalatin, 
who knew more about matters, remained submissively 

at his post. A significant feature of the times was the 
appointment of Frederick as regent during the inter- 
regnum which followed Maximilian's death. Rome 
chafed under this inauspicious circumstance; that a 
prince, who dared to hold the sword between a monk 
and the pope, should now, for a time at least, hold 
the sceptre of Germany, did not augur well for Roman 
influence there in time to come. 

As a reply to the instructions brought forward by 
Miltitz, Luther wrote a letter to the pope full of peni- 
tence, promising to keep silence as to indulgences, to 
urge upon all people fidelity to Rome, to set himself 
assiduously to the task of quieting the people and re- 
storing them in full faith to the church which he had 
abused in his efforts to combat the charlatans and 
mountebanks who sold indulgences. His effort was, in 
all sincerity, to shield the mother church from the 
odium which these unprincipled men put upon her. 
He felt sure that an honest judge would quickly dis- 
cover the honesty and prudence of his purpose. 

Miltitz, finding his arguments with the elector, now 
regent, to little purpose, lost his temper and went at 
him with some loose rhetoric; would have abused 
him, but some recollections of faus'-reckt and the 
summary ways that the Germans had of concluding 
arguments, made him cautious. Also he had found, 
since coming into the territory, that the number of 
this people favorable to Rome was exceedingly small, 
and confined principally to those who were enjoying 




io6 Martin Lutker. [a. d. 1519. 

benefices under her. At Wittenberg it was proposed 
to throw Miltitz into the Elbe ; but, fortunately for all 
concerned, he made it convenient to seek fellowship 
elsewhere as soon as he learned of this inclination. 

Meanwhile Luther had been burned in effigy at 
Rome, and everything that he wrote or said was there 
condemned and burned. The press at Basle, however, 
was industrious and could publish quite as rapidly as 
Roman bonfires could destroy. 

Notwithstanding Luther's desire to discontinue fur- 
ther debate, the zealots of the pope, anxious to gain 
favor and perhaps distinction by combating him, as- 
sailed him as before. Eck challenged him to hold a 
disputation at Leipsic, and was not a little surprised 
to see Luther appear there in a chariot, seated with 
Duke Barnim of Pomerania, and Melancthon, and at- 
tended by two hundred armed students with Dr. Lange 
of Erfurt and a large body of citizens. They evidently 
meant there should be no repetition of the hazards of 
the Heidelberg journey. "And I, as an old doctor," 
said Eck in a discouraged way, "was expected to pro- 
ceed against all these enemies." But he was thor- 
oughly schooled in debate and courted it wilh as 
much ardor as Luther did. 

Duke George drew up the terms of the contest, 
which was held in the castle ; two pulpits hung with 
tapestries of the warrior saints, George and Martin, 
being set opposite each other. Carlstadt had all along 
insisted on his right to open the debate, mucli to Lu- 

ther's discomfiture, and a quarrel between them was 
imminent. Carlstadt proved no opponent to the skilled 
and brilliant Eck, wtiose eloquence and arguments 
made a deep impression. On the following day, how- 
ever, when Luther appeared, the excitement and in- 
terest were unprecedented, as he, with a bunch of 
flowers in his hand, ascended the pulpit steps. 

Luther, now in his thirty-sixth year, had, by his 
arduous and increasing labor, levied upon his physical 
powers to such an extent that he was reduced even to 
emaciation ; his memory halted, and his rhetoric was 
wanting in the brilliant and dexterous passages which 
distinguished his opponent. Vet his melodious voice 
and Joyful manner, coupled with the confidence and self- 
forgetting earnestness of a man who was asserting the 
truth, preserved the uninterrupted attention of his au- 
ditory ; and while he failed to maintain his assertion 
regarding the primacy of the pope, * his argument 
that the primacy had no warrant in scripture was 
vastly more important and fully succeeded. The only 
brilliant feature in his peroration was the aptitude 
with which he used scriptural quotations in refutation 
of his opponent's arguments. Attacks upon the Coun- 
cil of Constance were expressly forbidden by the 
Elector ; but Luther with his usual impetuosity, nearly 
overstepped the bounds; and Eck was on the point of 
rising to a victorious rejoinder when Luther by a clever 
turn disarmed him. Before the debate ended, there 
• That il daled oaly from the iwdflh cenLuiy. 

io8 Martin Luther. [A. D. 1519. 

was no question as to the division of the church, and 
thinking men asked at the close, ** Where will Germany- 
stand in this great episode ? *' This disputation, which 
continued three weeks, opened the gates to a new fu- 
ture for both participants. As to Luther's success in 
the argument there is some doubt ; but as to the great 
change that had come over Germany since Trutfetter's 
time, there could be no doubt. The weight of public 
sentiment was opposed to Eck and his arguments. 
"That little Greek," [Kleiner Griechlein), as Luther 
called Melancthon, now put forth a brief treatise aver- 
ring that a Christian was not bound to receive anything 
from the fathers as final, scripture being the true arbi- 
trator. A few months later he followed this by an- 
other, putting the authoritative dogmas of the coun- 
cils, also, in a place second to that of the scriptures. 
** He now appears to all," writes Luther, ** as wonder- 
ful as he really is. A most powerful enemy of Satan 
and the schoolmen, he knows their folly and the rock 
of Christ ; he has the power and the will to do the 
deed." That is, Melancthon's familiarity with the 
Latin and Greek gave him peculiar advantages over 
the average controversialist, who, by conventual train- 
ing, was confined to brilliancy of rhetoric, being al- 
lowed no logical source except that of the fathers and 
the councils. From this on, Melancthon appears as 
the prime adviser and counsellor of Luther ; every act 
and word of Luther's, before it went forth bore the en- 
dorsement of this mediator. He changed the whole 

*t. 3^.] The Disputation witk Eck. 

course of events. Without him religious progress 
could scarcely have kept abreast of political events ; 
excess and misdirected zsa\, /aust-rcckt even, would 
have sought the ascendency by summary methods ; 
these now were all to be set aside. 

Doubtless, the awakening spirit of Germany, now 
advancing with rapid strides along the highways of 
letters, science, politics and religion, was viewed with 
alarm at Rome. In opposing this condition Eck was, 
by all odds, the most potent, active and efficient force. 
A man of remarkable capacity, he labored with dili- 
gence to continue the predominance of the papal 
power; urged, too, by the Fuggers of Augsburg, who 
were now thoroughly alarmed about the security they 
had taken for money advanced. Cologne and Lou- 
vain came also to the support of Eck; and he, with a 
commission of seven others, prepared the bull of ex- 
communication against Martin Luther. Eck now has- 
tened to Rome with his papers, where they were sub- 
mitted to the scrutiny of Cardinals Accolti and Vio,* 
who with others conferred with the pope, Luther's 
writings were discussed for a month by these prelates ; 
and the conference ended with the issue of a selection 
of forty-one propositions from them, which were de- 
clared to be "false, dangerous and heretical." The 
document closed with these words: " Protect thou, O 
Christ, this vineyard set here by St. Peter. We be- 
seech thee, O St. Peter, extend thy protection over 
* Luther's Erst inquisitor, Cajelan. 

no Martin Luther. [A. d. 1520. 

this Holy Church of Rome, mistress of the faith. And 
if the monk, Martin Luther, recant not these scandal- 
ous propositions within sixty days of the publication 
of this instrument, we do declare him a stubborn her- 
etic, to be hewn off as a worthless and withered branch 
from the tree of Christendom. Christian authorities 
are exhorted, in the name of the Holy Church, to 
seize this arch-heretic in person, wherever he may be, 
and deliver him into our hands." This document, 
signed by Pope Leo with much formality and impres- 
siveness, was intrusted to Cardinal Aleander and Eck, 
for promulgation and execution. Luther, at Witten- 
berg dtiring all this time, was undergoing such mental 
tortures that he nearly gave way to morbid despond- 
ency. He was seized with a fever, which prostrated 
him. For a time his reason was despaired of, and 
dissolution seemed near. 

We may believe that he was nearly unconscious of 
the number and consequence of those who had come 
over to his side, and were now far from ready to have 
him reconsider, much less recant and retract. The Elec- 
tor of Mainz was warned to put away the indiscreet Ul- 
rich von Hutten, whose proposition to put the matter to 
the arbitration of the sword was ill advised, and whose 
pen had been active enough to provoke attention. 
Frederick of Saxony, the friend of Luther, was warned 
to discountenance the proceedings of his Wittenberg 
faculty, but made no haste to active demonstration ; 
in fact, he foresaw the results, and that the future of 

Germany had much af stake in the contest. He knew 
also that all the world stood in awe of German prowess 
and determination, and all that was needed to make 
her independent was mutual acquaintance and under- 
standing of all who spoke the language. Harmony 
and unity of her people would assure her political and 
religious independence. She was now on the high 
road to this desirable condition, and Frederick did not 
propose to impede her. 

Aleander, on his arrival in Germany, was amazed 
at the attitude of the people ; he found the streets 
placarded with diatribes, ballads and pictures, directed 
against Italy and the pope : and himself an object of 
scorn, street badinage and unpleasant threats. Magis- 
trates bluntly refused to post the bull, and when 
permission was granted, the odious document was im- 
mediately torn down and destroyed. 

We find Luther, now for the first time, willing to 
make public acknowledgment of his contempt for and 
his objection to the pope and his acts. The bull hav- 
ing reached Wittenberg December loth, 1520, Luther 
convoked the members of the university; and they, 
followed by a vast concourse of towns-people, went in 
solemn procession to the Elster gate, where the stu- 
dents had previously prepared a funeral pile. One of 
the magistrates of the town having lighted it, Luther 
stepped forward bearing the bull and with it a copy of 
the canon law ; these together he cast upon the fire, 
saying, " Because thou hast vexed the Lord's saints, 

112 Martin Luther. [A. D. 1520. 

mavest thou be consumed in eternal fire ; ** and amid 
the acclamations of the great assembly, they were 

So terminated the unity of Christendom and the 
Christian church. No need for modern facilities to 
spread this news. Achilles was hit in the heel ; arid 
now the spirit of independence, growing since the 
days of Tauler and Huss, reared itself; shook off the 
incubus which for centuries it had nursed and sus- 
tained ; stood there alone and colossal, defying the 
world and proclaiming religious liberty. Sentimental 
license may almost permit us to see old Kaiser Fred- 
erick, stepping out for a moment from his Salzburg 
cave, just to see the mighty figure. It was not Luther 
or Melancthon or Carlstadt this time ; it was all Ger- 
many. Since the Red Sea laid up its wall of waters, 
the world has beheld no such spectacle. 



ALL or nearly all the electors had now pronounced 
for Luther. Among his own people his personal 
safety was as well as insured ; still, he was aware of 
the abundant resources and resorts of the Roman pon- 
tiff, and so, harassed by the possibility of sudden and 
violent death, he appealed to Charles V., imploring im- 
perial protection. In the words of a man who is at the 
mercy of enemies, he begs that they be restrained from 
harming him ; this he coupled with an assurance of 
his own loyalty and fidelity to the crown and person 
of his imperial master. Had Luther fallen, even now, 
at the hand of the assassin, it could have availed noth- 
ing favorable to Rome. Public opinion had for many 
years been growing to this issue. Luther was merely 
the offspring of an epoch, which was itself the result 
of various and cumulative conditions. Religious lib- 
erty was one of the objects, but not the only one, and 
a summary dealing with Luther must only have pre- 
cipitated a sanguinary conflict, in which the parlor 
knights of Italy would have fallen under the resolute 
German sword. History without Luther even, would 
have gone on inevitably the same. 

We come now to that point of most consequence 

114 Martin Luther. [a. d. 1521. 

and significance in our record : the Diet at Worms, 
— Germany without a government ; princes, nobles, 
priests, laymen all at odds ; chaos triumphant. With 
this state of things, Charles's power scarcely repre- 
sented the unific power of Germany. There was an 
inglorious striving to sit above the salt, which made 
every man an enemy of his neighbor. The young 
Charles had plenty of occupation for years to come in 
reconciling and arbitrating in the childish quarrels of 
his princes, besides the multitude of foreign complica- 
tions which were thrust upon him. Although a lad of 
only twenty, his presidency of the Diet at Worms was 
characterized by a dignity and sagacity which sur- 
prised older and more experienced diplomats. 

Passing the time absorbed in the discussion of 
political affairs, we find Luther summoned before 
the Diet. There was a prevailing belief that Charles 
intended to destroy Luther. Aleander contended 
that the publication of the bull against Luther was 
sufficient to all purposes. Others argued that to 
bring Luther before the Diet and resort to summary 
proceedings against him, would be to arouse the mul- 
titude of his following to violence. ** That monk 
makes us plenty of work," said the Frankfort deputy, 
**some would gladly crucify him, and I fear he will 
hardly escape them ; only they must take care that he 
does not rise again on the third day." An imperial her- 
ald carried forward to Luther a summons of this cour- 
teous sort : " Honorable, dear and devoted Luther. — 

The Diet at Worms. 

Ourself and the states of the holy Roman Empire as- 
sembled at Worms, having resolved to demand an ex- 
planation from you on the subject of your doctrines and 
your books, we forward to you a safe-conduct to insure 
your personal immunity from danger. Wewould have 
you immediately set forth on your journey hither ; so 
that, within twenty days of the receipt of our mandate 
you may appear before us and the states. You have 
neither violence nor snares to fear : Relying upon our 
imperial word, we expect your obedience to our earnest 
wishes." Immediately before the summons was issued, 
Luther had published a treatise known as his "Ad- 
dress to the Nobles," which was in no way very credit- 
able to himself, and was unquestionably prejudicial to 
the spiritual as well as the secular interests of his coun- 
try,* Manyof his warmest friends deprecated the work, 
and critics of a later time have regarded it as an error 
of judgment. What may have prompted him to this 
publication no one may know. There is no doubt but 
that he was in a desperate strait, and that the em issaries 
of Rome were upon him and about him on every side ; 
still, this could avail him nothing. Luther knew that 
Aleander was bribing right and left, from the impe- 
'rial secretaries down to town clerks, to destroy his 
writings. There was evidently an effort to exasperate 
him ; but it was no time for angry words, when the 

• Ilazlitt's Iranslalion of this address can lie found in (he Appendix. 
The adverse crilicism which it called rnnb was owing mure to its un- 
maUer whkb it conlainei). 


1 16 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1521. 

number and consequence of his following was each day 
increasing so rapidly that towns and cities strove to 
see which should be foremost. At Nuremberg, Hans 
Sachs, who had been singing his own ballads through 
the streets there, now sang of the ** Nightingale of 
Wittenberg ; *' commencing at first timidly, soon, 
eagerly caught up by the people, it became the song 
of the time. Outside of his theological distinction, 
Luther had himself gained much reputation as a 
writer and singer of songs ; they had added vastly 
to his popularity, and introduced his name to those 
who knew little of his other acquirements. 

Luther, like many other leaders, was now troubled 
by too many advisers, volunteers, for the most part, 
and many of them not worth listening to. Doughty 
knights, itching to measure swords with somebody, 
people with plans and projects, and the usual company 
of pseudo philosophers, fanatics and charlatans, who 
always follow in the wake of illusfrious projectors. 
Already the assembled nobles had heard in the streets 
of Worms the cry of ** Bundschuh^' the tocsin of the 
peasantry who favored Luther.* It was an unwel- 
come sound and boded not well for the future, 

Luther's journey from Wittenberg to Worms was 
a perpetual ovation. His friends supplied him with 
money and a closed chariot in which he might ride, 
his sickness having so reduced his strength that he 

* Years before, the Bundschuh had been an organization of the 
peasantry to resist oppression. 

was unable to accomplish the journey in his customary 
way. He was accompanied also by Nicholas von Ams- 
dorf, Jonas, a provost of the university. Doctor Schurf 
and the imperial herald, custodian of Luther's person. 
Everywhere he was treated with the utmost con- 
sideration. Although he himself states that he was 
physically "fearful and trembling;" still, at times 
comes back that old, passionate heroism, as when 
he declares he will go to Worms " though he should 
find there as many devils as there were tiles upon the 
housetops." Everywhere his friends, despairing of his 
safe return, urged him to abandon the journey. At 
his old home in Erfurt Luther preached on Easter 
Sunday, notwithstanding the express mandate of the 
summons, that he should preach nowhere on the 

During his discourse here in the church, which was 
crowded by his friends and the monks of his former 
domicile, a portion of the walls of the building gave 
way with a loud crash. The audience fled from the 
house in terror; but Luther remained, and finally suc- 
ceeded in calling them back, telling them that it was 
the hand of the devil seeking to prevent them from 
hearing the word of God which he was going to an- 
nounce. The church was immediately crowded again. 

At Leipsic the cup of honor was presented him by 
the magistrates of tlie city. Arriving at Weimar, 
Duke John, of Saxony, supplied him with more money 
for his journey. At this time, as in fact during ali the 

ir8 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1521. 

journey, he was suffering from physical weakness, yet 
with remarkable fortitude he persevered ; and amid 
all the exactions of friendly visitors, and the annoy- 
ance of unfriendly ones, preserved a demeanor wholly 
remarkable for a man in his condition. As the pro- 
cession approached Eisenach, Luther was prostrated ; 
all recollections of early days now came forcibly back, 
and passing the house of gentle Ursula Cotta, that 
one who cheered and comforted his youth, he fell 
back weeping. There was a proposal to delay the 
journey ; but Luther, anxious to reach his destination, 
declined to tarry. 

By the time Oppenheim was reached, Sturm, the 
herald, had come to have so much confidence in his 
charge, that Luther was allowed to go wherever he 
listed, and could, had he desired, easily have accom- 
plished his escape. Luther, however, emphatically re- 
fused to avail himself of the opportunity, although the 
prospect for him at Worms was far from favorable. 
Near Pfifflingheim Luther saw a peasant planting elms ; 
alighting from his chariot, he went forward to the 
spot, took one of the saplings and planted it, with the 
words, " God grant, that as the branches of this tree 
shall flourish, so may my doctrines." This tree after- 
wards became known as the " Reformer's Elm,'* and 
under it many Lutherans found a last resting place.* 

On the iSthof April, 1521, the memorable cortege 
arrived before Worms at noonday. 

* It was destroyed by lightning in i8ii and cut down. 

Record of Lutlier's coming to Worms and his 
doings there is very full and explicit. It was a mo- 
mentous period, and the cotemporaneous historian 
did not lose the opportunity. 

From his watchtower the town trumpeter discov- 
ered the approaching procession, and the populace 
were soon notified. There filled the streets a great 
crowd, waiting to catch sight of that man whose name 
was upon every tongue. Before the chariot rode the 
herald, his tabard, embroidered with the royal eagle, 
hanging over his arm. Sitting with Luther was Nich- 
olas von Amsdorf, professor of divinity at Wittenberg, 
and a Danish knight, named Suaven, who had espoused 
the cause of Luther. Then followed a number of 
knights, and monks, some mounted, others on foot. 
They were met by the magistrates and town coun- 
sellors, and Luther was conducted to his lodgings. 
Among those who waited Luther's entrance to the 
city was LefHer, famous in his lime as jester to the 
Duke of Bavaria. He with a great concourse awaited 
the procession at the city gates ; and holding in one 
hand a cross and in the other a lighted candle, preceded 
Luther as he entered a neighboring church, chanting, 

'■ £c^e advenit quern expectamKS in tcnebris." * 

Now, in the solitude of his chamber, he had time 

to meditate ; his friends had also sought retirement. 

Though weary, he could not sleep, dispirited and de- 

* Behuld the advent of him whom we expected would came in 


I20 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1521 

pressed as he was with the consciousness of the terri- 
ble possibilities that awaited him, and having con- 
stantly in mind the serious questions there were to be 
presented to him on the morrow. There was but one 
encouraging feature : he had not failed to notice the 
consideration and attention bestowed by his country- 
men during the journey ; all along the road this had 
been plainly manifested, until now it seemed to have 
arrived at the point of being aggressive on his behalf. 

It was no longer his cause alone, but the cause of 
all Germany ; and when at daybreak, as matins tolled, 
he fell on his knees, the prayer he uttered was one of 
entire inspiration ; it was more than a petition. Mal- 
thesius the chronicler, then a young novitiate, heard 
it, and stood '* as one transfixed ; his manner was of 
such intense earnestness, his voice so strong and full 
of resolution, that in the silence of the morning the 
effect of it was miraculous." Luther had sent for 
Glapion, the Spanish confessor of the emperor, to 
visit him during the night ; but he refused, not wish- 
ing to consort with a heretic. 

These diets, resolving at last into the formal repre- 
sentative body of the empire, were singular conven- 
tions, having no time or place, except by mandate of 
the imperial power.* The warrant for them was in- 
herited from the Teutons, who met similarly to settle 
finally vexed questions. They were a conglomerate 

* Reichstag was then the name for them, as the German parliament 
is now denominated. 

of the spiritual and temporal powers, each being in 
perpetual struggle for the ascendency. 

Up to this time domination had rested with the 
spiritual part, care being taken to preserve a majority 
on the clerical side. This Diet of Worms, under the 
presidency of Cliarles V., ■was held in the council 
house of the city. It was composed of six elec- 
tors, an archduke, two landgraves, two markgraves, 
twenty-seven dukes, with a number of counts, arch- 
bishops, bishops and other persons designated ; in all 
numbering two hundred and six individuals. The 
political power not represented was the "■' Bumischiih" 
a x^Wz o{ oi<i faiist-rccht times. This organization was 
now favorable to Luther; and it was intimated to the 
diet that ten thousand members of it were fully armed 
and equipped, ready for instant action, should the diet 
provoke it. With a tender regard for their own necks, 
the members of the diet inclined to treat Luther with 
more consideration than was common in such cases, 
Since the time of Huss there had been material 
changes. There was a dignity of popular inclination 
back of Luther that Huss had never had. When Lu- 
ther, pale and haggard, but as ever, fearless, walked up 
the aisle of the assembly chamber alone, there was 
silence ; all eyes were fi.sed upon him. 

Charles remarked the insignificant appearance of 
the man, and intimated that his power could not be 
great ; but Charles had been so long under the lan- 
guid Castilian influence, that he had no clear percep* 

122 Martin Luther. [A. D. 1521. 

tion of magnetism. With him power was a hereditary 
possession ; Luther's was that of a majestic manhood. 
Here, in the midst of the diet, Luther stood alone, 
looked down upon from imperial, princely and ecclesi- 
astical eminences. Instinctively his eyes turned toward 
Elector Frederick, as if to gather encouragement from 
his ever faithful and powerful friend. 

Then arose Leonard Eck, imperial jurist, who 
opened the charges against Luther, and with much 
discretion changed the nature of the demand from 
absolute retraction to a ** conscfit to retract" certain 
doctrines enunciated in his books. After the reading 
of the titles of these books, Luther acknowledged the 
authorship of them ; and in a dignified response, closed 
with a request for twenty-four hours time in which to 
consider his reply ; when he could do so, " without 
fear of blaspheming or danger to the salvation of his 
own soul.** This created a visible stir among the 
ecclesiastics, who would not fail to demur at his rea- 

On the day following, he was cited before the 
House of Bishops, who endeavored to impress upon 
him the infallibility of their decisions.* They sought, 
by all sorts of ingenious devices, to approach him, but 
patronage and cajolery did not succeed ; for Luther was 
firm in his refusal to admit them to arbitration in the 
case ; he consented however to renounce his safe-con- 
duct, and confide himself to their keeping. " Too 

* They met in the Heil-haus, 

much, too much! " exclaimed a friendly noble, "you 
are conceding too much, and you will bring trouble 
upon yourself." 

At this point in the proceedings, two of the wise 
bishops hastened off to inform Charles that Luther 
was on the point of retraction. Now came a mes- 
senger, requiring to know if Luther consented to 
place himself in the hands of the emperor and the 
diet. Luther again refused. Cochla^us, too, came on 
wiih all his blandishments, and Luther's friends gath- 
ered about him, well knowing the treachery and hy- 
pocrisy of this visitor. 

He was, in fact, beset on all sides, as though a 
prize had been offered for the one who should suc- 
ceed in procuring from him a retraction. Indeed, it 
was a critical time ; and what with the clamor of 
disputation going on over his head, the whispered 
advice of watchful friends, the occasional cry of 
"■ Dundschiih" heard on the streets, the hour and the 
day were heavy with omens. 

For the second time, Luther appeared before the 
Diet ; again the question coTicerning his books was 
put, Luther answered it reverently, begging the 
patience of the body if he failed in the etiquette of 
the place and forgot titles. 

" I d.o" he says, " acknowledge these books ; I 

them and always will avow them, so long as 

they remain the same as I sent them forth. They 

were not hastily produced, but prayerfully and con- 

124 Martin Luther. [A. D. 1521. 

siderately, after much meditation. In regard to those 
other writings, wherein are my attacks on the papacy, 
although I have used many harsh words, they are 
not too harsh. We must protest aloud againsjt lies 
concerning the gospel, so have I done ; I will not sub- 
mit noble Germany, as a prey to devouring Rome and 
Roman tyranny. I cannot and will not retract these 
writings. Finally, as to the polemical discussion writ- 
ten against those who have advocated Rome to the 
injury of ourselves, I admit that I have often used 
language not altogether fitting to my place and call- 
ing ; yet I have never made a pretence of saintliness, 
and even these writings I cannot disavow, when to do 
so would be to enslave my fellow-men. It might in- 
crease the kingdom of Rome but not of Christ. 

** I will not shield my books under any other patron- 
age than that with which Christ shielded his doctrine, 
when he said, * If I have spoken evil bear ye witness 
of the evil?'" 

At the conclusion of this reply, Luther's man- 
ner was that of a man transported by conviction ; 
still, conquering his passion, he rose to the loftiest 
eloquence, and every word indicated unbounded 
confidence and faith; they were words of conviction; 
ambition had no part in them. The man who first 
sought to react the part of Augustine was not now to 
take upon himself the role of a demagogue. A sim- 
ple and explicit ycs^ or no^ was however wanting, and 
the jurist Eck called Luther's attention to it. Luther 

The Diet at IVorms. 

continued, " Your imperial majesty and your high- 
nesses, my answer briefly, emphatically and without 
reserve is this : If the scripture convict me not, it is 
not in the power of pope or councils to do so, for they 
conflict with each other and are often mistaken. I 
have no guide but the Bible, the word of God, I can- 
not and will not retract, because that would oppose my 
conscience. Such is my profession ; expect no other. I 
have done : God help tne. Amen." 

At this point the assembly was nearly on its feet, 
so intense had become the interest of Luther's listen- 
ers. " If they burn you now, they burn all the Ger- 
man princes with you," whispered a friend, as the 
states retired to consider. Luther's appeal to the 
patriotism of Germany had gone like an arrow to the 
hearts of the electors, who sat there clasping their 
sword hilts tighter as the inquisition advanced. There 
was earnestness in this man, and they felt it. 

Without the assembly th« excitement was equally 
great ; the city was full of people, who had come to 
take cognizance, indeed, to take part, if need be ; 
plainly dressed peasants, doctors from many schools, 
knights in full regalia, as though it were a gala day ; 
but such it was not, for deep in every heart was the 
consciousness that future welfare depended on these 

The states affirmed that Luther had not yet ren- 
dered a simple and precise answer; they demanded 
something more definite, and proposed to ask him if 

1 26 Martin Lutfier. [A. D. 1521. 

he considered all or only part of his principles catholic, 
and if there were any he would be willing to retract. 
Luther stoutly maintained that he could not act' 
against his conscientious conviction ; he had given all 
the answer they required of him. He averred that as 
humanity was liable to error, so were the councils, for 
they had often contradicted each other ; but what was 
of divine inspiration, he could not disavow. For more 
than two hours Luther held his argument ; the ap- 
proach of evening, however, terminated it for the day. 
At the closing some of the Spanish attendants offered 
to obstruct Luther's exit from the hall. His friends, 
however, were promptly by him, and pity the man 
who now dare harm him ! Charles had observed with 
much discomfiture the disposition to " take good care 
of that monk," which his grandfather, Maximilian, had 
enjoined ; that his German subjects were far from being 
unanimously loyal to him, and that his support was 
confined to a few, who were brave enough so long as 
they had a defence to hide behind, and a fair share of 
royal patronage. Charles's retinue for the most part 
was made up of Spanish blood. They were no match 
physically for the Teutons. 

On the following day Charles convened the electors 
and the states, ostensibly to discuss the form of the im- 
perial law against Luther and his adherents, but really 
to test the disposition of each one ; for it was a question 
now, as to which was in jeopardy, himself or Luther. 
The night following Luther's second appearance be- 

fore the diet was a memorable one ; his lodgings were 
besieged by a crowd of nobles, knights, and others of 
influence, urgent to assure him of their fidelity and ap- 
preciation of his action. Frederick spoke to Spalatin 
in praise of Luther, his appearance, theimpressiveness 
and elegance of his address, but was amazed at his 
boldness, Frederick, with William of Brunswick, 
Philip of Hesse, and other nobles, remained with Lu- 
ther late into the night, and when they left him it was 
only to give way to others ; so was he now constantly 

In the chamber of the archbishop there was an- 
other scene. Having found that imperial demands were 
hopeless of results and that to remove Luther would 
only be to exasperate a populace quite ready for revo- 
lution, the bishops now resorted to diplomacy. Their 
hold upon the community was feeble ; they proposed 
to strengthen it by a show of magnanimity and conde- 
scension — an ostentation of willingness to sacrifice 
their own pet projects instead of Luther, 

With this object in view, a mixed commission, a 
few days after Luther's appearance before the diet, 
invited him to come before them. All this time Lu- 
ther had been under imperial protection, the herald 
^being constantly by him; the emperor and councillors 
were cognizant of his every word and act, yet he sim- 
ulated nothing, secreted nothing. Toward the em- 
peror he was most humble and gracious, toward Rome 
and the pope he was defiant. The action of tti^a 

128 ^Martin Luther. [a. d. 1521. 

mixed body, so far as the diet was concerned, was 
purely gratuitous, they claiming that it was in the in- 
terest of peace and good order. 

The tone of the opening discourse by Vehus * was 
conciliatory, Luther's reply was similar in spirit, but 
with no offer to retreat from the position he had 
taken. He arose to retire from the company, but on 
urgent solicitation remained somewhat longer, atten- 
tive to the expressions and arguments of Vehus. 
This consultation amounted to nothing, neither did 
that one, immediately after it, which Luther had 
with the Bishop of Treves. 

On all sides Luther was besieged by self-appointed 
advisers ; by machinations of all sorts, it was sought 
to extract from him some semblance of retraction. 
For the purpose of prolonging this useless discussion, 
his safe-conduct was continued. When at last it was 
found that Luther was immovable in his opinions, the 
councillors who were together scrambling for Charles's 
favor, sought to commit the electors and princes to a 
rejection of Luther's opinions. The electors of Saxony 
and the Palatinate had already departed, leaving only 
four in attendance, when Charles conveniently dis- 
covered that some business touching the Council of 
Regency was incomplete* 

These four electors accompanied him to the bish- 
op's palace, where by a singular coincidence, the 
Nuncios chanced to be» With much flattery and 

-<Et. 38.] The Diet at Worms. 129 

many smooth words, Aleander urged for an opinion 
on a document which, to all appearances, was a harm- 
less affair. Joachim of Brandenburg fell into the 
trap, and replied that the measure would certainly be 
acceptable to the states. It turned out to be an ex- 
pression of the position of the states in regard to the 
Lutheran controversy, wholly opposed to the real spirit 
of the electors. Aleander, hastily turning over the rec- 
ords of the diet, engrossed the document with a date 
several days previous, the diet being now dissolved 
and leaving no quorum. So, by strategy and sur- 
prise, they were, to all intents and purposes, com- 
mitted to the severe censure and sentence of Luther; 
his own writings and those of his followers being con- 
demned to the flames. Thus were the temporal and 
spiritual powers virtually at one against Luther. 



HOWEVER momentous may have been the ques- 
tions before the diet, we cannot fail to notice 
the quiet dignity of the whole proceeding. The youth- 
ful Charles, the white-haired archbishop, the panoplied 
knights, the fiery orators, all in the midst of most ex- 
citing events, maintained a becoming composure, when 
it seemed that but a touch to that powder house would 
have blown all Germany into a hasty war. 

On the 25th day of April Luther was entertained 
by his friends, sentence having been pronounced upon 
him, and he being ready to depart on the day follow- 
ing, still under imperial escort. He was enjoined to 
preach no more ; but, on arriving at Freyburg, he 
wrote a letter to the emperor in which he expressed 
regret at being obliged to disobey this command. 

. Nearing Hirschfeldt he was met by the magistrates, 
the abbot, and a mounted guard, a great concourse of 
citizens with the senate awaiting him within the gates. 
Here he preached, likewise at Eisenach, where a form 
of protest was feebly entered. 

No one was now journeying with Luther except 
Nicholas Amsdorf, who had remained faithfully by 
since leaving Wittenberg, and a groom. Sturm, the 

Tke Wartburg. 


imperial herald, had been dismissed by Luther after 
the first day's journey. 

From Eisenach Luther set out for Walt ershau sen, 
there to visit friends. They were now in the solitudes 
of the Thuringerwald. Amsdorf, looking out of the 
chariot, discovered two armed horsemen galloping 
rapidly toward them ; without delay he sprang to the 
ground and made off. These horsemen arresting 
Luther quickly transformed him into a knight, and 
putting upon him a false beard and hat, conveyed 
him to a less frequented part of the forest, reaching 
very soon Wartburg castle, where his captors, Hans 
von Berlepsch and Bercard von Hund, introduced 
him as Junker George. This castle, famous even then 
in history, was now to have more fame added. Here 
St. Elizabeth, a thousand years before, had been be- 
trothed in babyhood to the equally young Prince 
Louis of Thuringia. Back in times remote frora 
Luther's the Meistersingers gathered in its iofty halls, 
and made the forest ring with their wild music. For 
many centuries it has figured in history. As it sits 
there in sight of all for many miles around, so has it 
ever held a prominent place in chronicle and story. 

Through Amsdorf went out the news of Luther's 
capture ; it flew over Germany upon magic wings, 
being everywhere met by the cry of protest and alarm. 
The pope and the emperor had it laid at their doors ; 
consternation pervaded both the Roman and German 
parties. The former, although they would be glad to 

132 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1521. 

be clear of the man, would yet be more glad could he 
be restored. Everywhere was perplexity ; even the 
imperial palace was not exempt. 

Whither Luther had been taken, however, all were 
Ignorant, and great was the anxiety of his friends. The 
Wittenberg people were exasperated, and but for the 
prevalence of the better counsels of Spalatin, and a 
few others, would have precipitated an armed contest. 
The university there still labored assiduously, though 
the number of students was somewhat reduced by Lu- 
ther's absence. 

Some of the monks had now taken the aggressive 
by throwing aside their vows of celibacy ; private 
masses were discontinued, and a radical change in the 
ritual seemed imminent. 

Luther, now in confinement, was most consider- 
ately treated : his apartments were comfortably fitted, 
and his table supplied with delicacies to which he had 
been little accustomed. This was a much needed 
change, for his physical condition had well nigh be- 
come that of a chronic invalid ; so long had he had 
upon him the strain of a controversy maintained 
against great odds that mind, too, needed rest. 

But where in history do we find record of a man 
like this abandoning his work. Men of this mould, 
reformers, men of progress, men with great projects 
devolving on their individual efforts, sleep with one 
spur on, always working, always weary, but never 
ready to rest. The road to successful accomplish- 

mcnt is over the stones and up the steeps, ever up, 
until death grants a holiday. 

There were books there at Wartburg, and more, if 
Luther wanted them ; one of his first works, therefore, 
was to prepare for the translation of the New Testa- 
ment. It was Frederick's soldiers who had taken 
him ; it was Frederick who had prepared the castle for 
his reception ; Frederick's purse supplied all ; and con- 
siderable time elapsed before it became known to the 
world where Luther was. 

Luther had been taken captive the very day of the 
expiration of his safe-conduct ; by the terms of the 
severe edict at Worms he then being a virtual prey to 
any who might seek to destroy him. In performing 
this act Frederick had two objects in view— the safety 
of Luther, and the augmentation of his following in 
Germany. There is no doubt of the sagacity and suc- 
cess of the project. 

That Luther enjoyed this immunity from the cares 
that had beset him we cannot doubt : his spirits at 
once revived. He writes " from the region of air and 
' bird songs, where birds from their homes in the trees 
do continually praise God ; from the Isle of Patmos." 
At his request numbers of books were sent him from 
Wittenberg ; and occasionally, in the lonely night 
hours, some friend who had been previously warned,- 
appeared at his door. 

We say Luther was alone, but if we may believe 
his own words he was not entirely so. Always a suget- 

1 34 Martin Luther. [a. d. 1521. 

stitious man, now that he was locked up in the walls 
of a great castle, he became doubly so. All the gnomes, 
spirits, goblins and sprites that German lore ever told 
of came with him here to torture and torment him. 
Some one sent him a bag of nuts ; in the night all 
these nuts leaped out of the bag and went dancing 
about the room with such a clatter that Luther was 
thoroughly affrighted, and in agonizing prayer urged 
to be delivered from this legion of devils. While he 
was engaged at his work of translating a portion of the 
Psalms, the devil incarnate appeared before him and 
tried to -snatch away the writing. Luther, seizing his 
ink bottle, threw it at the unwelcome visitor ; it went 
quite through his spectral majesty, lodged against the 
wall, and left a blot which remains in part to this day. 
In his meditations he recalled those last words of his 
father, " Please God, this be not a trick of the devil,'* 
words which struck deep into his heart and remained 

Luther now set himself industriously to the task 
of bettering the condition of his brother monks. In- 
deed, some of them had already anticipated him, 
and had thrown aside the vows of celibacy and taken 
wives ; but Luther declared to Spalatin that he could 
never be induced to marry. Carlstadt had taken things 
in hand at Wittenberg, and there was unheard of demo- 
lition of plaster and wooden saints and pictures. Glass 
windows even, such as were colored or ornamented or 
bore any ecclesiastical device or effigy, fell under the 


fury of these fanatics. Emperor Charles had come 
to a misunderstanding with his French neighbors, 
who so occupied him that he had no time to look 
after these home matters. 

The tide of German sympathy was now almost 
wholly turned in the Lutheran channel; notwithstand- 
ing the earnest protest of Luther himself, it even as- 
sumed his name. 

The rector of the grammar school at Wittenberg, 
being seized with the popular frenzy, locked the door 
of his school-house and shouted to the children who 
sought to enter : — " Go you home ; we have no more 
need for schools and books ; for have not divine proph- 
ets come among us who have walked and talked with 
God! You shall all be filled with knowledge by the 
grace of God, so get you home and trust to him." 
Carlstadt himself even went so far as to consult with 
little children; for, said he, "Hath not the script- 
ure said that God reveals to children what he hides 
from wise men?" 

Indeed, matters were going on In a pitiful way at 
Wittenberg. For some unexplained reason Elector 
Frederick made no effort to stay this madness, while 
Melancthon was still too young to resist the great in- 
fluence of Carlstadt and the Zwickau prophets. 

This was totally subversive of all of Luther's 
conservative ideas, and when news came to him he 
was vexed and deeply concerned, and immediately 
wrote to Staupitz urging him to use every endeavor 

136 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1521 


to stop the foolishness of these men. Staupitz 
showed the letter to Carlstadt, who threw it on the 
floor with the utterance that he should obey God 
before he would obey man ; no arguments were strong 
enough to impress the archdeacon. Affairs were com- 
ing nearly to bloodshed when Luther one night eluded 
his watchers, and leaving a brief note pinned to his 
door, set out for Wittenberg on foot, against the pro- 
test of the Elector, who had commanded him to remain 
at Wartburg. 

The Luther of this autumn of 1521 was not the 
Luther of the Diet of Worms : he had now gained 
much in flesh, and his beard was grown quite long, 
while his cavalier costume and heavy sword gave him 
anything but the appearance of a meditative monk. 
,At an inn at Jena where he stopped, he sat reading 
a Hebrew psalter, when two young men observed 
him, and eventually engaged him in conversation 
which turned upon himself and his works. The stran- 
gers knew not to whom they spoke, although they 
suspected him to be Ulrich von Hutten. One of 
them drew a tract of Luther*s from his pocket while 
at supper, and discoursed upon it, expressing the hope 
that evangelical truth would one day become universal. 

Another guest said he was not a scholar and knew 
little of these matters, but he would be willing to give 
ten florins to confess to Dr. Luther. In the course of 
the conversation Luther so far disclosed his identity 
that the guests were taken aback, and sought to 


make amends ; but he assured them it was not neces- 
sary, and was off betimes in the morning ; not, how- 
ever, till they had seen him and bade him adieu. 

At one point in his journey Luther delayed long 
enough to dispatch a letter to his good friend the Elec- 
tor, explaining his reasons Cor disobeying the demand 
put upon him, and urging as an excuse the miserable 
state of affairs at Wittenberg, which he hoped to in- 
vestigate and restore to order. It was altogether an 
unfortunate letter, unjust and ill-tempered; for it up- 
braided and affronted the man who, of all men, had 
thrown about Luther the arm of protection, which 
alone secured him from the violence of his pursuers. 
Luther soundly abused his generous and powerful 
patron. This letter reached Frederick before Luther 
arrived at Wittenberg, and the Elector speedily dis- 
patched Dr. Schurff to arrest him on the road and 
return with him to Wartburg ; but Luther resisted, so 
the two went together in at the Etstcr gate, meeting 
Nicholas Amsdorf, who forthwith summoned Melanc- 
ihon. So were the friends once more in council after 
a half year's separation. 

From the time of Luther's return, the power of 
the Zwickau prophets faded, the blind rush of fanati- 
cism ceased, and once more order and good sense 
prevailed. " My friends have done here quite as 
much to injure me," he writes, " as my enemies have 
done elsewhere ; I never yet had so hard a blow." 

Later on, when Luther had commenced the qu.V^ 

138 Martin Luther. [A. D. isai* 

lication of parts of his Bible translation, Duke George 
interdicted it ; that furnished the motive power to ele- 
vate Luther to one of those heights of sarcastic rheto- 
ric — that is a mild characterization — from which even 
Melancthon could not pull him down, nor could he 
be frightened down by the assurance that his words 
were indiscreet. 

Once started in the pursuit of an object, his 
progress was that of a mighty torrent ; strong men 
quailed before this Titan. Nor was it brute force 
either ; for, with all his strong and sometimes bois- 
terous demeanor, there was a foundation of rare in- 
telligence, a genius entirely unique, and the ear- 
nestness of the man wholly convinced. He was one 
of those men who never knew leisure ; with a vast 
propensity and capacity for work, he could keep him- 
self and all about him busy. By nature, from his very 
childhood passionate and impulsive, those impulses 
when thoroughly under control served remarkable 
purposes ; upon them he rose to vehement heights of 
oratory, which commanded the attention and admira- 
tion of those who assumed to be far above him. Oc- 
casionally, and the occasions were not rare, he over- 
threw himself. Let him only meet in contest a tern 
perament similar to his own, and his rhetoric was 
harsh even to cruelty; every adjective at his com- 
mand would be flung at his adversary. Cochlaeus 
declared that Luther was " born of an incubus,'* and 
it is true; but th^t incubus was the power which 

I ter-w 

sjbjected Germany, a power which he was fearless 
enough to encounter single-handed, and so bestow 
upon his native land independence and a freedom to 
proceed along all the roads of enlightenment ; an 
advance which was accepted with alacrity, to the great 
betterment of millions of people. 

In the light of spirituality his character stands in 
strong contrast with our ideal saint. Instead of laying 
his head meekly upon the block of martyrdom, he rose 
boldly and defiantly up; earnestly fought, in fact ; but 
his great discretion is apparent in the determined way 
in which he resisted the warlike efforts of men like 
Sickingen and Von Huttcn. He wanted to do all 
the fighting himself, and he was able to; for if all the 
swords of Germany leaped at his command, they could 
not prove so potent as a few words of his, which cut 
further and deeper and with more lasting effect than 
weapons of steel. 

He preferred convincing men to killing them. 
Even in religious fervor his philosophy was not that of 
destruction, but of incision, elimination and elevation. 

" My worthy Hal "* came in for a large share oi 
Luther's irony just now. With the golden rose upon 
his breast, he was proclaiming himself the champion 
of Rome, until Luther ran against him with his quill 
and fairly disconcerted him. Here is another faculty 
hich Luther possessed in a large degree, that of let- 
ter-writing. Like many others, however, he abused 
Henry VIII., tlien King of England. 

140 Martin Luther. [A. D. 1522. 

it often, and documentary evidences of his philippic 
tendencies, by his own hand, are numerous. If he 
could not reach his opponent with his tongue, he was 
sure to do it with his pen, for everything he wrote — 
and a great deal that he didn't — was spread broadcast. 

The " tag blatter " of that day were little more than 
a record of Luther's sayings and doings. He was, to 
all intents and purposes, for a long time, the master and 
source of European thought ; and his philosophy so 
coincided with the national progress that they joined 
hands and went along together. Instead of the chained 
and cloistered missal, it was now the liberated book, 
thrown broadcast before the people. It was the end 
of one era and the beginning of another, in more 
things than religion. 

Another feature in Luther's character is worth 
looking at. With all his ferocity and stormy logic, he 
bubbled over continually with good humor : many 
times when his opponent in debate felt sure that he 
was beyond self-control, he would suddenly drop his 
invective to tell a story, as he was frequently wont to 
do in pointing a moral; in fact, the readiness with 
which he adapted all circumstances, many times con- 
founded his adversaries, who confined their course to 
the severe logic of the schools. Luther, now returned 
to Wittenberg, devoted himself to treatises and ful- 
minations which, in the main, only angered those 
against whom they were directed. No head, no mat- 
ter how noble, was safe from the knocks of this free 

The Wartbtt.rg, 

lance, who rode up and down the arena of letters, 
challenging, commanding and condemning in a way 
that fairly intimidated. Sooner or later all the kings 
and princes, in his own and other lands, heard from 
him, in words often far from elegant and with very lit- 
tle regard for their eminences. 

He had great obstacles to remove, and the tools 
he used were correspondingly ponderous and elVectual. 
He spent no time stopping mouse holes with cheese, 
nor did he try to stay the winds with feeble remon- 
strance. There could be no temporizing now, so 
everything that he uttered reverberated with emphatic 
expression ; he thundered right and left against his 
opposers, who were by tura provoked and disgusted, 
often dismayed, for in the history of centuries, no 
character like this had before appeared. The spectacle 
of this one man coping with a legion of schools led by 
imperial command, was too remarkable to seem real. 
Such, nevertheless, was the fact, and men like Eras- 
mus stood paralyzed before the gigantic undertakings, 
the heroism, the revelation, possible to the one emi- 
nent and rising genius. 

In January, 1523, Luther apprehended that Ger- 
many was on the eve of a terrible civil war. Until 
now no man had dreamed of Luther's capacity for pro- 
tracted and complex labor. Night and day, after he 
left the Wartburg, he was without rest, besieged right 
and left by friends as well as enemies. Up to the end 
of 1533 he had published, within a period of three 

142 Martin Luther. [A. D. 1523. 

years, no less than four hundred and forty-six separate 
works. The mere contemplation of this is fatiguing; 
but add to it the numerous letters written, the private 
and public conferences, and all the other demands inci- 
dental to ordinary life, and we have a volume of labor 
such as few, very few, men could compass and dispatch. 
For a period of years his followers looked to him as 
their oracle, hung upon him ; so long dependent on 
the mother church, they were now equally dependent 
on him. 

The Zwickau fanatics called loudly upon him to 
proclaim the limits of gospel liberty. ** Be thou our 
arbiter and guide, we bow to thee." The Waldenses, 
too, bended the knee before this man, who, of all 
others, was least willing to be worshipped. " This is 
not the church of Luther," he wrote, " but the church 
of Christ, established upon his gospel ; take away 
every other name but let the name of Christ remain." 
By this time the Latin ritual had largely given way 
to the vernacular in the churches, and in many cases 
the German melody had also supplanted the other, so 
strong was the disposition to nationalize everything. 

About this time Goetz von Berlichingen, with 
thousands of the hardhanded peasantry at his back, 
was preparing to fall upon the nobles. It was a time 
of perplexities ; nothing but quick, decisive action 
could avail. This was not the first time the peasantry 
had assumed the offensive ; whirlwinds of the same 
sort had before devastated the country. 

The Wartburg. 


The nobles charged Luther with being the author 
of all this mischief; but, far from it, he was devoting 
his whole influence to subdue so disastrous a move- 
ment. His reply to both the peasants and nobles 
who had addressed him, was full of power and excel- 
lent reasoning. Nor did he stop at that, but at once 
put himself in arbitration between the two parties, 
invoked the lawful powers, and condemned the pre- 
cipitous action of Von Berlichingen and his followers. 

To each party he issued an address ; from the 
nobles he demanded equal and exact justice in the 
collection of tithes, and other oppressive conditions; 
the peasants were warned of their dangerous and un- 
warrantable proceedings, exhorted to gentle means, 
and reminded that " those who take the sword shall 
perish by the sword." The document was lengthy 
but unequivocal. He took no middle ground ; no 
man, or company of men, could gain his sympathy by 
simply shouting " Luther forever," He believed that 
fair and desirable ends were gained by fair means only. 
Anarchy was a foe even worse than any other, and this 
breach between the nomads and the nobles had already 
existed too long. It could never be filled up or over- 
come by dead men ; nothing but calm and deliberate 
understanding could right matters. So he enlisted 
himself on the side of good order. 

In settlement of their difficulties he advised a 
selection from each party of a certain number of 
representatives, who, in joint session, should arbitrate 

144 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1524. 

and come to some understanding, thus appealing from 
the sword to reason and intelligence. The matter 
had already gone too far, however ; from one place 
and another came tidings of lawlessness. 

To make matters worse, Thuringia itself was be- 
coming involved in this fearful condition, and under 
the leadership of Dr. Thomas Munzer the peasants 
got possession of a few strongholds. Melancthon half 
favored the peasants ; Luther condemned both the 
peasants and the nobles. Anarchy and confusion pre- 
vailed. Even after the insurrection had been crushed 
and Munzer's head struck off, Luther said, " All the 
peasants had better perish rather than the princes and 
magistrates, because the peasants took up the sword 
without divine authority, and * they that take the 
sword shall perish by the sword.' " Carlstadt had by 
this time fallen into hopeless disgrace; the victim of 
his own fanatical indiscretions now comes pleading at 
Luther's door that he intercede with the Elector to 
protect him. Luther did so, far enough to get a par- 
don for his offences, but he could no more sit with the 
doctors at Wittenberg ; aijd now instead of Doctor 
Carlstadt he became a Kemburg herdsman. How bit- 
terly does Luther lament the estrangement of this his 
early and long constant friend. 

During all this time of dissension and madness on 
the part of his own following, the attacks of Luther's 
old enemies became if anything more violent. They 
heaped upon him maledictions for thus drenching 

The Waribnrg. 

the country in blood ; every crime in the calendar, be- 
sides that of heresy, was charged to his account; but 
this was little more than the piping of frogs now ; the 
affair with the peasantry was far more disastrous and 

One hundred thousand poor deluded people had 
perished in this miserable insurrection, which, had it 
been carried but little further, would have stayed the 
progress of German institutions to time unnamable. 
During all this terrible struggle Luther more than ever 
demonstrated his own exalted manhood ; neither pre- 
judice nor ambition stood in his way to a clear and 
just conception and judgment. 

Friendship and flattery were nought if they opposed 
his inflexible integrity. Right and left he took to task 
those who urged on the useless conflict, but it was no 
use; religious excitement with the ignorant people 
had turned to religious lunacy; so, led on by fanatics 
and demagogues, they went to fighting and to death. 
Those who escaped on the field of battle fell afterward 
under the sword of the executioner. 

Up to this period, 1524, Luther had been on 
friendly terms with Erasmus; Erasmus in turn had 
admired', although he did not entirely endorse, the 
German doctor. 

In a long letter written this year to Erasmus, 
Luther urges for more emphatic expression on his 
part; takes him to task for the middle course he has 
so long pursued, charges him with pusillanimity and 

146 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1524. 

almost intimates that he has gone over to the ad- 
versary. He felt that he needed the help of so power- 
ful an ally as Erasmus, yet even in this letter was pur- 
suing the direct course to his estrangement. In fact 
estrangement did follow, and after this Luther could 
scarcely find words forcible enough to express his con- 
tempt for " that amphibious being, that knave, that 
very fool who mocks religion." From the Wittenberg 
pulpit he entreated his hearers to condemn Erasmus. 

Erasmus, however, was not alone the object of 
attack ; for it is a singular fact that toward the end of 
his life he engaged in controversy with nearly all the 
scholars who had sided with him, and succeeded in 
estranging most of them from himself. So strong was 
his passion for discussion that even trivial points 
would form the premise for eventual antagonism. 

It is now that we find him at the meridian of his 
glory. Up to this period his sceptre had held con- 
trol over more loyal subjects than any one prince 
ever counted under his banners; everywhere where 
people began to learn the value of religious liberty 
his counsel was awaited ; there was no one else to 
whom they could look. 

As yet the principles of the new faith were without 
codification, nor had any general body been assembled 
to frame them. Although many of the electors were 
still nominal adherents of Rome, it is a singular fact 
that in most cases the succeeding princ-es were Luther- 
ans. People had become thoroughly transfused with 

^t42.] The Wartburg. 147 

the new principles; some concessions, even, had been 
granted by the bishops and other ecclesiastics of the 
Roman church. Had it not been for the impetuous 
and disastrous action of indiscreet and fanatical leaders, 
there is little doubt that compromises might have been 
reached which in the end would have benefited both 
parties ; but the radical element had destroyed all hope 
of this. The one first and last article of their creed 
was opposition to Rome : Luther only sought to sup- 
plant old practices and beliefs, now grown vicious, with 
new, and pure, and exalted principles. That mighty 
ally of Luther's discussions, the printing-press, carried 
his words to conquest. 



THERE IS no word in the whole Roman language 
for humility ; there was none in the Greek till 
Paul put it there. The splendor of these courts 
through the historic centuries is almost incomprehen- 
sible. Men, to be great, to be powerful, to achieve 
conquests whether in letters or law or war, must have 
great fortunes at their backs, courtly influence and 
a retinue of vassals. 

Rome of the sixteenth century was not at variance 
with her old traditions ; her children, bred through so 
many generations in the lap of luxury, had become lan- 
guid and listless; the very atmosphere they breathed 
had the essence of true manhood all cultivated out 
of it. 

To the north of them the children of Wodin and 
Thor were growing up, a brawny, broad-shouldered 
race, in the midst of tangled forests and primitive 
towns. They were convenient allies, but Rome never 
anticipated that day when they would throw off alle- 
giance and stride up in the ranks of civilization to 
a foremost place, no more the servant, much less the 
slave, of emasculation and idle luxury. 

They were the offspring of adversity, yet for their 


^t. 41] The Angsbitrg Conference. 149 

vigor and strength of character rose superior to cir- 
cumstances, and planted their guidons on a territory 
hitherto deemed consecrated to the children of afflu- 
ence. The traditions of Rome and Greece were con- 
troverted, and these stood aghast at the spectacle of 
a people rising from obloquy through sheer force of 

Like all the other masters of thought who had 
preceded him in Germany, Luther was born in pov- 
erty, so lived, so labored and so died. We are apt to 
make little note of a man's circumstances when he has 
other characteristics more prominent, so ample a com- 
pensation is richness of manhood for poverty of purse. 

In th^ midst of these absorbing events let us not 
forget that the most imposing figure of it all is with- 
out the concomitant of wealth ; he was no Wallenstein 
sitting demi-godlike, in the midst of enervating luxu- 
ries and imposing surroundings. 

Through all his career, even in the midst of 
achievements more remarkable than have been ac- 
complished by any other unaided man, his surround- 
ings were not superior to those of the common peo- 
ple; indeed, he was so pitifully poor that frequently 
we find him at loss for means to supply absolute ne- 
cessities. This was owing in part, however, to his 
own careless use of what was placed at his disposal. 
He has been known to give away large amounts of 
money immediately they were received, leaving his 
own coffers quite empty. Discharging an old and 

150 Martin Luther. [A. D. 1524. 

faithful servant at a time when his funds were low, he 
wrote to his wife, ** I pray you, give John not less than 
five florins ; if you have it not by you, you may pawn 
my silver cup, for he is a faithful man and deserving 
of all we can do for him." Poor Catherine had reason 
to regret, years after, this erratic benevolence, when 
she begged her bread through the streets of Witten- 
berg. So extended was his reputation for giving, that 
alms-seekers beset him. His friends urged him to 
provide for the future, and he could have done so 
quite liberally ; but, shaking his head, he always re- 
sponded, '^ dominus providebit ;'' so went -on selling 
gift after gift to meet wants other than his own, thus 
assuring poverty for his final years. He even begged 
his donors to be less lavish with their gifts. 

At Augsburg and Worms and other places where he 
had been obliged to appear publicly, his purse was sup- 
plied by contributions from wealthy adherents. So ab- 
sorbed was he by the sanguinary contest that he paid 
no attention to the wants of his person ; friends being 
watchful for him in this regard, however, he wanted 
nothing necessary to comfort and decent appearance. 
He had all the tastes and refinements of a man of 
luxury ; the impressions left by that visit to Rome 
never departed from him ; he ardently admired Albert 
Durer and his works, likewise Lucas Cranach, one of 
the most prominent and successful painters and engrav- 
ers of his time. It was he who engraved most of the 
cartoons which accompany part of Luther's publica- 


tions, his connection with the court of Elector Fred- 
erick bringing him into familiar intercourse with 
Luther, whose life-long friend he was. 

From earliest years, since his childish voice sung 
under the windows of loving Ursula Cotta, music had 
been a solace. How many times in the silent night 
hours, when his soul was in the agonies of uncer- 
tainty, were the notes of his flute heard through 
the gloomy halls of Erfurt monastery ! "Oh! what 
a solace is music," he says, " to the sad and sorrow- 
ful mind, I have always loved it, and whoso is skilful 
in the art hath a good temperament. By music we 
may drive away Satan and temptation ; it is a divine 
gift to us. It has enabled me to surmount many 
difficukies, to subdue anxious fears; it is the hand- 
maiden of theology," 

In friendship and private life his singular purity 
and gentleness are in strong contrast with the heroic 
and menacing character displayed in public contro- 
versy. Detractors have sought to stain his reputation 
with the intimation of monstrous private crimes ; but 
the ampler testimonies of Melancthon, Spalatin, 
Amsdorf and otiiers who were very near him, refute 
these odious insinuations; that the man lived as he 
believed no one may question. 

During ail that grand and awful struggle which 
sundered the Christian church, and in which he stood 
for a long period as the solitary champion, breathing 
hot and hasty and strong words, there was never a 

152 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1525. 

time when the hand of friendship was extended toward 
him, that he did not grasp it with warm and generous 
sympathy, and utter words of tenderness between the 
periods of contention. 

That he was a man of remarkable versatility, a 
genius, in fact, his whole life bears testimony. We 
know him only as a stern master of men ; those who 
were contemporary with and lived nearest him knew 
him as a man of genuine humor, spontaneously social, 
ready with song and story to encourage the mirth of 
those who joined with him. How could it be other- 
wise ; the man of positive austerity is as small and nar- 
row as any other one-sided character. Were Luther 
always of the character in which we find him when 
opposed to Eck, then must his projects, many of them, 
have failed in their accomplishment. 

To his mastership he joined a certain valuable 
discretion ; wrought into the solid substance of his dis- 
courses an ingenuity of illustration which disarmed op- 
position and won a public jury. 

When in the heat of debate he went astray from 
this principle his case was prejudiced by virulence and 
passion. Let us not forget that the same intelligence 
which dictated ^^ Ein feste Burg'' dictated also the 
famous couplet. 

Wer nicht liebt IVein^ Weib und Gesang 
Der bleibt ein Narr sein Leben langJ* 

Who loves not woman, wine, and song, 
Remains a fool his whole life long. 

^t. 42.] The Augsburg Conference. 

Here is the social, almost the convivial, side of a 
majestic character, an equipoise of the tragic and serio- 
comic. So is the potency of scholai'ship constrained if 
it be not adorned with gentle and innocent pleasant- 

He loved the company of his friends, and in child- 
like simplicity spoke and wrote to them such warm 
and loving words that one might almost doubt his 
ability to ascend those heights of forensic eloquence 
which startled the world from its lethargy of centuries 
and builded new foundations for progressive thought. 

It had been the hope of Luther's father that he 
should perpetuate the family name, and although he 
distinctly tells us he was three times in love, still, up 
to the third time he maintained his vows of celibacy. 
Now in the forty-second year of his age, he met Cathe- 
rine von Bora, a sister in the convent of Nemptsch, and 
was married to her June 14th, 1525. They went to- 
gether to live on a small farm which he had pur- 
chased at Zeilsdorf, there with " my Eve, my empress, 
my rib Ketha," he passed two quiet years, each year 
bringing him a child, first John, then Elizabeth. 

Now, for the first time, we find him relapsing into 
the querulousness of age. The death of Elector Fred- 
erick coming just now was a depressing circumstance. 
P'ortunately for Luther, Frederick was succeeded by 
his brother John, a man not less sagacious, and if any- 
thing more radically protestant than his excellent 
predecessor. Though still in the prime of life, Luther 

154 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1527. 

was far. from being in the prime of strength ; the 
mighty tax so long imposed upon him, coupled with 
chronic bodily infirmities, was slowly but visibly gain- 
ing ascendency. Here on his small estate he divided 
his time between grubbing in the garden and attend- 
ing to his correspondence, which was as ever volum- 
inous and important. His correspondents were among 
the most illustrious men of the time ; they plied him 
with questions and aggravated him with dispute ; he 
was a sort of oracle toward whom the world looked 
and for whom it waited, nor was ready to move until 
he had defined the line to be pursued. Men of Lu- 
ther's time had come to have great faith in his judg- 

Melancthon prized his letters above all others ; he 
assures us that no man wrote or thought like Luther. 
He was altogether unique ; but his most formidable 
productions about this time were framed in a tinsel 
of mingled pleasantry and complaint which bespoke 
advancing years. 

Occasionally the old fires, which had burned so 
brilliantly in years gone by, would flash for a moment 
and then smoulder again. More suffering meets him ; 
poverty, a childish impatience, bodily pains, all came 
to add a little discomfort. 

More children were added to his family, and then 
came the plague and carried one away. " I am a 
mere woman, sick at heart," he says, " since my little 
daughter Elizabeth died. I could not believe that a 

man's soul could be filled with such tenderness toward 
a child,"* 

In 1527 Luther was himself attacked by a long 
sickness, commencing with apoplexy, and followed by 
three months of prostration, mental and physical. 

During all this time, like a warrior disarmed, he 
chafes under his own impotence, and the advantages 
gained by his enemies. Many times he nerved himself 
for a reply to the Sacramentarians, for whom he could 
scarce find strong enough words of contempt, then at 
last, throwing down his pen, he said, " My soul is not 
capable of this or anything else; please God that 
Erasmus and the Sacramentarians may some day, if 
only briefly, undergo the agonies that my poor heart 
now endures." 

The Turk had once more buckled on his sabre and 
was now at the very gates of Vienna, thundering 
against Christendom ; when at last he found his efforts 
fruitless and retired, Luther's cause was near getting a 
severe blow by a formal alliance of the papal princes 
against the protestants. 

The plot was originated by Otto Pack, chancellor 
of Duke George of Saxony. Pack forged the duke's 
signature and sent the paper forward for other names. 
In its travels the forgery was discovered, and the 
princes then sought to clean their skirts of complicity. 
When this fact came to light the effort exploded harm- 
lessly, if anything with more hurt to the Roman than 

■ Lmlitr had sii cliildien in all, the U:i[ bom in 1536. 

156 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1528. 

the Lutheran party, for Germany would not tolerate 
intrigues. Luther once more put on the controversial 
harness, and gave the duke evidence that though quiet 
he was quite ready to assume the offensive. 

Duke George denied any connivance at the mis- 
chief which was breeding, and was very humble under 
Luther's arraignment. 

He was one of those nobles who sought to occupy 
a middle position, but his conservatism was in reality 
only indecision of character, and courted the oppro- 
brium of both parties. 

There was want of definiteness and organization 
in the Lutheran party, but just how to accomplish 
a fusion was a perplexing question, and yet it was 
apparent to all that nothing would now save pro- 
testantism except a unity of the various dissenting 

The risk of such an experiment was nevertheless 
considerable, for lunatics and demagogues were abroad 
in force haranguing, declaiming, flinging their arms 
about and making wild men of the simple minded 

Already several eccentric organizations existed, 
sad mixtures of religion and socialism, Lutheran only 
because such an alliance might aid to further their 
own vicious ends. Most of these were without any 
reasonable foundation and calculated to bring confu- 
sion into the Lutheran camp. Luther unsparingly 
denounced them all. 

In Switzerland and th« Netherlands everything 
was tumult, absurd extremes were bringing consequent 
odium, and with absurd extreme the strict Lutheran 
party Iiad no sympathy. 

The Landgrave of Hesse communicated a plan 
to Luther whereby these sects including the Sac- 
ramentarians were to be called to a council, there to 
define their position and come to some mutual under- 
standing. Luther foresaw and predicted the failure 
of the scheme. He maintained an argument with 
CEcolampadius, Zwinglius and Bucer who endeavored 
to conciliate him ; he had no sympathy with them or 
their kind, however, and was inflexible in his opposi- 
tion. They were no disputants to cope with this vet- 
eran of the schools; Luther styles them "illiterate 
rustics, having no power to sustain an argument, 
zealots only." 

This meeting was held at Marburg, year 1529; 
nothing satisfactory was accomplished, and Luther 
congratulated Amsdorf and Melaiicthon that such was 
the result. 

A few months after this a meeting of the protest- 
ants was agreed on to be held at Augsburg; called 
there by royal decree of Charles V. himself, in order, 
if possible, to settle the vexed question of the division 
of the church. 

Luther, being still under imperial condemnation, 
couid not appear ; who now will rise to fill this great 
vacancy? Elector John, however, took care to have 

158 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1529. 

Luther within consulting distance, and conveyed hinn 
to the old fortress of Coburg, conveniently near 

Previous to the Augsburg meeting the Lutheran 
party met at Torgau ; from this point Elector John, 
accompanied by Luther, Melancthon, Justus Jonas, 
Spalatin, and Andreas Osiander, with two hundred 
horsemen, set out for Augsburg. 

At Torgau these people had come to an under- 
standing as to what they should do at the confession. 

Had Luther been permitted to set foot within the 
council chamber, there would doubtless have been hot 
words, as there always were when he took up the cud- 
gels ; now he could only sit there in Coburg castle 
with bridled tongue, to be appealed to as his counsels 
might be needed. The sceptre of leadership was, by 
mutual consent, conferred on one person ; it fell to 
the lot of Melancthon. 

In all this illustrious company there was only one 
Melancthon, nor could man be better fitted for the 
place he was to fill. In his fortress domicile, Luther 
occasionally b/eaks forth with some of the old time en- 
thusiasm ; it only sparkles for a moment, however ; as 
when he writes ** from the clouds, the empire of birds, 
residence of the crows," to ** my loving Ketha.'* But 
the aspiring and inspiring majesty of his own person is 
departed ; disease and work have wasted the substance 
and the man. 

Previous to his arrival at Coburg, he had begun 
the translation of iEsop*s fables, and during his three 

months stay here, he added parts of the Psalms and 
many metrical hymns to his work, being assisted by 
an amanuensis. 

Inspired by his surroundings and the work before 
him, he composed that memorable hymn, " Ein Feste 
Bnrgist uiiserGott" suggested to him by the sixteenth 
psalm ; both the words and the melody being his own. 
And this he sung triumphantly within the strong walls 
of Coburg. 

He exhorted the Elector and his friends to be of 
good courage. The task before them was one of mag- 
nitude; the future depended on it, no one knew for 
how long. True to their impulses, Melancthon and 
Spalatin were urging toward conciliation and conserv- 
atism. Luther charged upon them in a sharp letter, 
with the assurance that no such course could be suc- 
cessful : he was equally opposed to the concessions in 
favor of any of the dissenting bodies, and declaimed 
against them with much of his old ardor. Here, as at 
Worms, Eck* was the prominent advocate of the 
Roman party; he found no Luther confronting him, 
however; but in his place two calgi and thoughtful 
men, in strong contrast with the aggressive leader. 

In his stronghold sat Luther, alternately cheering 
^and chiding, joyful at every success, nor faltering 
when gloom seemed imminent, but singing his hymns, 
writing his books and waiting. 

The profession of faith of the protestants, eventu- 
• Not the famous Dr. John, bw tlic iiupeiial councillor. 


i6o Martin Luther. [A. d. 1530. 

ally drawn up by Melancthon, with Luther in council, 
originally agreed upon at Torgau, was presented be- 
fore the Augsburg body, July 6th, 1530. It was signed 
by five electors, thirty ecclesiastical princes, twenty- 
three secular princes, twenty-two abbots, thirty-two 
counts and barons, and thirty-nine free imperial cities. 
Luther was exultant ; he now beheld the dignified 
consummation of a long and laborious contest. 
Though not all he wished, it was more than he had 
really expected. Congratulations on the success of 
the conference were indulged in by all concerned. 
Even imperial Charles breathed more freely, and he 
might well do so ; for, since assuming the crown, his 
cares had been multifarious, and with few intervals of 

The league of the protestant princes at Schmalkald 
which was formed immediately at the closing of the 
Augsburg conference, was charged to Luther ; he at 
once wrote, denying the impeachment, and every 
other which pointed to an opposition to his imperial 
master, whom he had always treated with the re- 
spect becoming his exalted position. Charles, in turn, 
did not fail to recognize the greatness and importance 
of Luther and his work. Though his leanings were 
always towards Rome, whose mandate he executed, 
he still passes in history as a discreet and dignified 

Among the many foolish things which marked the 
career of Duke George of Saxony, was his attempted 

^a^t. 47.] TAe Augsburg Conference. 161 

precipitation of an armed contest between the pro- 
testants and the emperor. With much ostentation he 
offered five thousand horse to be used against the 
Lutherans. " They seek to win spurs," writes Luther, 
** by slaughtering our congregations ; these brave' 
knights had better be about other business than that 
of fighting preachers and their flocks." 



The people of Munster, like many others poorly 
advised, were just now going into excesses unwarrant 
able and ruinous. Secret assemblies, frequent and 
long, boded no good for this district. It all ended 
in fanaticism, bigotry, battles and death. While they 
pillaged the public buildings and churches, their cry 
was, "repent, repent.** John Mathiesen, their su- 
preme prophet, was another madman ; with arquebus 
and halberd he by his own hand laid many low. John 
of Leyden was another of like character. Not satis- 
fied with being merely a prophet, he proclaimed him- 
self king, and set up a royal establishment, a feeble 
one that proved too big for its foundation. 

This promoter of chaos, like others before him, paid 
for his foolishness by the forfeit of his life. Luther 
had much to say about these fanatics, but nothing in 
their favor. Both the Roman and Lutheran bodies 
sought the overthrow of the anabaptists and accom- 
plished it. The excesses of men of the Munster 
stamp were thus far the single features to be depre- 
cated of the protestant innovation. Doubtless many 
of those who took part were encouraged to it by 
Luther's hasty words — words spoken in moments of 



passion which in the succeeding calms he was glad 
to renounce and condemn. 

Lunatics thought they heard in them the sound of 
the tocsin, calling to draw the blood of their enemies, 
but such they were not meant to be. The new prin- 
ciples had now become too far extended to exist under 
the domination of one man ; indeed, the one man, who 
by his might had inaugurated the revolution, was now 
beginning to make much of trifles, had in fact lost 
most of that resolute self-possession which had made 
him for a time the arbiter of men's thoughts and direc- 
tor of their actions. 

His letters now frequently mentioned a decline in 
strength and the prospect of dissolution. Partly in sad- 
ness, but for the most exultant, he meditates upon the 
future. Much of his writing that has been preserved 
after the year 1535 is frivulous and weak; even in 
theological discussion the minor points are distorted 
to unnecessary prominence ; his playfulness is that of 
a child. His time was spent mostly now enjoying the 
society of his friends ; indeed, he was their pensioner, 
being so poor as to be the charge of Lucas Cranach and 
others who were willing to advance small sums. 

As his children advanced in years he devoted much 
of his time to them. His language in nearly every in- 
staiice now reflects the working of t lie mind within ; he 
niuralizes and meditates ; but we must not accept alto- 
gether the Table-talk which bears his name; it is the 
work of many hands with gratuitous additions and eii' 

164 Martin Luther. [A. D. 1546. 

largements. However, there is ample and unequiv- 
ocal documentary material of his own bearing the 
authoritative imprint. 

We may not deem it extraordinary that the words 
of a man so important to his time were carefully re- 
corded. John Luther, his father, died in May, 1530. 
" I now am old Luther,'* writes Martin ; ** presently I 
shall follow him to that kingdom which Christ has 
promised. I do rejoice that he lived long enough to 
see .the light of the new gospel.** Indeed his last years 
were crowded with sorrow and pain : " I am over- 
whelmed with age and weariness ; old, cold, half-blind, 
yet am I not permitted to take repose. Lamentations 
and tears are in vain ; I am feeble and can do nothing 
but pray, * thy will be done,* ** 

Toward the closing of his life he had become pos- 
sessed of the idea, then prevalent, that the world was 
about to come to an end, the day of judgment near 
at hand. He daily prayed exemption from the pain of 
further living, grew restless and sought tranquillity in 
other places than Wittenberg, toward which he had 
conceived an intense dislike. He proposed to his 
wife that they reoccupy their little Zeilsdorf estate ; 
he was, however, in no condition to live remote from 
friends, and by their efforts he was induced to return 
to Wittenberg. His letters at this time to "sweet 
Catherine, dear Catherine, my most gracious spouse,'* 
are full of pitiable tenderness, and so in contrast with 
those letters of time gone by, when he was in the 


xtty.] The Peasant War: — Luther's Death. i6g 

thick of the fight that they scarce seem the prompt- 
ings of the same heart. But such they were, it was 
only the sun coming out of the storm as the day was 

Notwithstanding his physical weakness he contin- 
ued preaching more or less. In 1546, a conference of 
the Lutherans was held at Eisleben. Luther himself 
still anxious to take active part in all these assem- 
blages, by great effort was conveyed thither, and was 
present at many of the meetings, taking active part in 
some of them. 

To a friend who was with him in his chamber on 
February 17th, he complained of increasing prostration 
and suffering, then swooned. Attendants were sum- 
moned and vigorous treatment resorted to ; they re- 
mained by him till late at night, when he said in Latin 
"Into thy hands I commit my spirit. Thou hast re- 
deemed me, O Lord, God of truth," then fell into a 
gentle sleep. 

With him at this time were his friends. Count 
Albert and his wife, Aurifaber, Dr. Jonas and two 
physicians. Awaking from his sleep he observed 
the anxious faces about him, and knowing well the 
cause, arose from his couch and slowly paced the room 
for a few moments. Dr. Jonas expressed the hope 
that he would soon feel easier. " No, dear Jonas," 
replied the sufferer, " I am even worse ; I grow cold ; 
I have nothing wholesome about me:" then in the 
midst of his chamber he fell upon his knees and ut- 
tered this prayer, " O my Father, God and Father of 

1 66 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1546. 

our Lord Jesus Christ, source of all consolation, I 
thank thee for having revealed unto me Thy well- 
bcloved Son in whom I believe — ^whom I have sought 
to make known to all the people and acknowledged 
before them, that they might be led to Thee — whom 
I do love and celebrate, and whom the pope and infi- 
dels do persecute. I commend my soul unto Thee, O 
my Lord Jesus Christ ; I am about to quit this body, 
I am about to quit this life, but I know that I shall 
abide eternally with Thee. In manus tuas commendo 
spiritum meum; redetnisti nte^ Dotnine Deus Verita- 
tisy Three times he repeated the last paragraph, then 
fell back insensible. 

In a few moments, however, through the efforts of 
his friends, he was aroused from his stupor, and Dn 
Jonas asked him, " Reverend Father, do you die 
firmly professing the faith you have taught ? " He 
looked for a moment on the little company, then with 
emphasis answered, •* Yes." His eyes closed, this 
was the last word he uttered. So died Martin Luther. 
So dawned the new day over Christendom. 

Could good old master Trebonius now rise from 
his long rest for a moment, he would have even more 
faith in the virtue of taking off his hat before his 
schoolboys. Here was one more illustrious than any 
he had apprehended. Not a chancellor nor any other 
titled officer of State, but by divine right the peer of 
them all. 

Yet this remarkable man never voluntarily jour- 

neyed three leagues from his birthplace. As a child 
under parental direction, he was sent to school at 
Eisenach and Erfurt ; as the representative of his vicar 
general, he journeyed to Rome, by command ; as an 
agitator and dissenter, he was conveyed to Augsburg 
and Worms by imperial order. Other than this his 
home and his laboring place was in the forest, remote 
from populous centres, and beforetime not distin- 
guished particularly. Dead now, almost under shadow 
of the roof which sheltered him at birth. 

Contrast him with a group of his contemporaries, 
Erasmus, Reuchlin, Copernicus, Durer; all travellers, 
and men conversant, more or less, with other than 
their native provinces : among them Luther stands 
singularly alone, just as he stood in the midst of that 
august assembly at Worms. 

But contrast did not dwarf the proportions of this 
man ; his influence was illimitable, his intellectual 
proportions such that they commanded the deference 
of his most implacable enemies. From the first a 
striver, familiar with vicissitude, he had developed a 
degree of resoluteness that approached belligerency, 
which, though often repulsive, was quite as often ef- 
fective ; the old love of domination, inherent in the 
German character, was not easily subjected by gentle 

In the heraldic record his father's coat of arms was 
a hammer upon a block of granite, though the son had 
little use for a distinction of this sort, it was ncverthe- 

1 68 Martin Luther. [a. d. 1546 

less eminently appropriate. Sincerity, substance, so- 
lidity were essential parts in his composition. Fame 
and applause he put behind him, thus avoiding the 
sunken rocks upon which fictitious philanthropy wrecks 
itself. In the days of his utmost importance, ego- 
tism and arrogance never marred the symmetry of his 
character ; inherently great, he could afford to be free 
of that ostentation which marks ephemeral distinction. 

Conscious as he may have been of the vastness of 
his influence, yet was there no pause between his pe- 
riods in order to observe the effect of what he said. 
Luther had one pre-eminent purpose in view ; to that 
with unabated energy he bent the whole force of his 
life, would have done more, he said, had he ** the rich 
eloquence and treasury of expression of Erasmus, the 
Grecian lore of Camerarius, a knowledge of the He- 
brew equal to Forscher; '* but who of this illustrious 
company did so much ? Even Erasmus, who had been 
the target for many of Luther's keenest criticisms, 
bears generous testimony to this man whose " private 
life was universally commended, and whose enemies 
cannot find subject matter for calumniation.'* 

Germany as Luther found it and Germany as Lu- 
ther left it, presents us strong contrasts. It was in 
spite of, not by the aid of, foreign influence that the 
important change had been effected. 

The so-called culture which had transfused itself 
through the courts of Rome and France, was disas- 
trous to both ; dilettant atmosphere, heavy with ar- 

^t. 63,] The Peasant War. — Luther' s Death. 169 

tificia! perfumes, bred contempt for that rustic man- 
hood which so vigorously and effectively asserted it- 
self. The men who were first in the field and labored 
most resolutely gathered the sheaves. 

Luther and his followers were industrious; Rome 
held to the anchorage of her ancient traditions, confi- 
dent that she would outride the storm without dis- 
memberment. Until now, Germany had been the 
humble servitor, but her children, lusty and vigorous 
alike in body and mind, had grown into some knowl- 
edge of independence and could no longer remain me- 
nial. No one else would do it for her, so she put her- 
self forward in the scale of civilization. It was a for- 
midable undertaking, the measure of which we of a 
more enlightened age can scarcely comprehend. That 
Rome maintained her supremacy through these many 
centuries by her superiority of intelligence must be 
admitted. Had it not been for the introduction of 
vicious men and obnoxious practices, she might have 
maintained her place many years longer, how many 
no one can say, for intelligence is the superior foe of 
tyranny, and the suddenness with which men's eyes 
were opened in that eventful time, was one of those 
marvelous episodes of history which cannot be ex- 
plained. The grander implements of this revolution 
were all of humble origin. The feeble, lonely voice of 
Tauier, preaching to the herdsmen in the mountain 
solitudes. Luther, Melancthon, Erasmus — none, by 
birth or title, above the common people, coming out 

170 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1546. 

of that mysterious obscurity which surprises us so 
often by the munificence and magnitude of its gifts 
Assuming wondrous charges, accomplishing magnifi- 
cent results and leaving us in amazement. So passed 
Martin Luther. 

Melancthon, who probably enjoyed a closer inti- 
macy with Luther than any of his friends, says, ** who 
ever knew him and his habits will agree that he was 
an admirable man, soft and genial in his moments of 
companionship, not dogmatic nor loving disputes." 

This last may be in truth so, for Luther became 
entangled in " disputes,** did not measure carefully the 
weight and importance of what he asserted, but hav- 
ing once asserted was bound to maintain, for he was a 
man with " a passion for truth,'* and would get at it, 
though it cost him many hard struggles and sacrifices. 
Obduracy and harshness, which characterized him in 
much that he said, came partly from his training but 
more from intensity of conviction. 

There is no need to analyze this character, we can 
not tell by what force men arrive at such magnificent 
conclusions. That is a problem which the philoso- 
phers of history have never solved. Of all our historic 
names, no single one ever exerted an influence so 
broad and lasting as that of Martin Luther. The rev- 
olution which he inaugurated still progresses ; the 
Christian world goes on divided. Perhaps it need not 
have been so ; at all events it is so. • That single 
united body of Christians which recognized Rome 

^t. 63] The Peasant War. — Luthef^s Death. 171 

as its head, was doubtless the most intelligent, the 
strongest coalition of men the world ever saw. That 
it could have been disintegrated by the efforts of one 
man is something remarkable. We may go on ex- 
plaining it all, still the presence of that superior man- 
hood confronts us ; unerring, resolute,, fearless, he 
flung back the gates that resisted John Huss, and 
through them men are walking to this day. 



IN this sixteenth century the theory of the universe 
was resolved by a German ; the occupations of 
scribes and missal writers became supernumerary 
through the ingenuity of a German. Still another of 
like blood had before this presented the world with 
that potent civilizer — gunpowder, which took the place 
of the sword to precede the Bible and the missionary. 
Each one of these progressive steps was opposed by 
the regnant church ; but awakening intelligence recog- 
nized no obstacle, it went steadily forward, creating 
and improving ; from alchemy to chemistry, from as- 
trology to astronomy, from baseless theories to ex- 
perimental proof. 

Nature was beginning to testify some in her own 
behalf, and it was no easy matter for the fathers and 
the councils to surrender that ancient and responsible 
prerogative of the final solution of all these enigmas, 
according to their own notions. Hereafter they will 
have little to do except to issue their formal ** damna- 
tio *' against heretical experimenters and their sacri- 
legious productions.* 

* Opposition to scientific investigation has ever been a fundamental 

^t. 63,] Posi-Luiheran Germany. 1 73 

Not less impoiaant in this procession is the philt>- 
logical feature of this century. Before this the do- 
main of letters was occupied by two languages only; 
books were few, and scholars of various tongues could 
here meet on common ground ; behind this curtain too 
the courts communed and plebeian people could only 
look silently on, albeit their endorsement and support 
was demanded when it canne to the pinch. From 
the councils, through the preachers it had gone out to 
the commonalty that books, and literature of all 
sorts, were dangerous things, fit only for those who 
were instructed to read: The layman was only a pri- 
vate in a vast army, to be guided and governed by 
superiors. Even had it been otherwise, an open book 
accessible to all, it was in Latin, and priceless ; to those 
who were floundering about in a confusion of tongues 
it was a mystery. 

In such an age and under such conditions Rome 
grew to her second splendor. The traditions of past 
superiority lingered with present generations, there 
was a pride that Christian civilization should exceed 
the glory of the past, that temples of the living God 
should exceed in magnificence the temples of mythol- 
ogy, that the stones of early Christendom should live 
as a perpetual monument to the triumph of Christ. 

principle af Ihe Christian church. The opposilion shown by the prat' 
estani church came by inhEritODce from the fathers, back in Ihe middle 
Bges. The spirit which condemns inTestigalion ond deduction now is 
the same that invoked Ihe wrath of Ucaven on Copernicus and Galileo. 

With what unanimous alacrity Christians, the 
world over, entered upon this undertaking, we have 
ample evidence. Travellers through all time will go to 
Rome to see what their fellow-men have done in ages 
past. Something that never can be accomplished 
again by like means. Self-respect grows with intelli- 
gence; luxury and achievement can no longer be con- 
fined to the few; that morning star that arose clear 
and bright early in the sixteenth century, t/ie consci- 
ousness of igtiorance, was the first hopeful gleaming of 
emancipation from a thraldom more complete than 
men have ever since been subject to. Rome strove 
hard to hold fast that ancient superiority of intellect, 
of judgment, of power, which by unanimous consent 
was hers ; here was the basilica where all might wor- 
ship, here the treasure house toward which flowed the 
wealth of the faithful, but all the wisdom of her coun- 
sellors and all the power of her majestic courts could 
not bid back the oncoming of the day. 

In the same century both Germany and England 
set about the labor of the establishment of their lan- 
guages ; in both localities the project was resolutely 
opposed by the schools and men of letters. The schol- 
ar's domain was a t£rra incognita to all except those 
who were licensed to venture there; the dictation of 
the schools was scarcely less arbitrary than govern- 
mental dictation. The schools got all their books 
and all their interpretations from the codex accepted by 
the rulers at Rome, hence scholarship Itself was within 

limits, there was no breadth of research, no individual 
^speculation, no liberty. Consternation came when 

Vittenberg appealed from the oracle at Rome to the 
plain teachings of sacred scripture ; more consterna- 
tion when the horn-books of Erasmus stirred the am- 
bitions of men to search a little in that hitherto mys- 
terious domain, but with the facilities offered by the 
printing press their promulgation was rapid and irre- 

Whatever Is likely to augment the prosperity and 
welfare of men is eagerly seized by them, so these 
books, although proscribed and confiscated wherever 
found were read and treasured in secret. To this day 
they are discovered in unexpected places where they 
have been concealed and protected by former owners. 
Intelligent men are safe without law ; per coiilra, in- 
telligent men are quick to distinguish and resist any 
curtailment of their privileges by the law. We see 
the middle ages as a dark and dangerous period, the 
manners and expedients of that time are offensive to 
our civilization, but there were good men and heroes 
then, though perhaps if we knew them as well as we 
know our own we would respect them as little ; men 
grow greater and better in our estimation as time in- 
creases the distance between them and us, when they 
are too far away for us to distinguish their defects. 
The badness and goodness of our own time will be 
equally magnified hereafter. 

That the men who were most actively engaged in 

176 Martin Luther. [a. d. 1546. 

this crisis of transformation were not of our standard 
does not affect the value or proportions of their 
work ; they were men with impulses like ours, but 
without our facilities for getting at the truth of things. 
To these men it became obvious that fist-law was no 
law, also that laws were useless unless they could be 
comprehended, and to this end the assembled princes 
required the young Charles, at the time of his election, 
to sign such conditions as had never before been 
thought of. 

They were, in substance, that without the assent 
of the princes the emperor should make no alliance 
nor project any war with a foreign nation. 

He should introduce no foreign troops into the 
empire, nor hold any diets beyond its limits. That 
Germans alone should fill the offices of Germany, and 
that the affairs of the empire should be conducted in 
either the German or the Latin language. There were 
other articles providing against the sequestration of 
estates by the crown, also defending it from the de- 
mands and embarrassments imposed by intriguing 

This paper was laid before Charles at a critical 
time. Frederick of Saxony, manly and sagacious 
Frederick, was the real choice of the princes, and 
these conditions simply implied " sign this or we put 
the Saxon Elector in the place,*' so Charles with am 
bition for more crowns than he already wore, and re- 
lying on the statement of his advisers that the paper 

was of little eRect, inasmuch as his assumption of the 
crown gave him arbitrary power, agreed to the condi- 
tions. Charles was young, and his counsellors (they' 
were Spaniards bred to an indifference to sacred prom- 
ises, and careless as to integrity,) failed to appreciate 
the sincerity and earnestness of the princes who drew 
the requirements. Such was the foundation of civil 
and religious liberty in Germany. Germany, ruled by 
a native, counselled by natives in the native tongue — 
that was a bold, strong step toward independence. 
The birth of the empire of to-day. 

Maximilian I., lately dead, had laid the foundation 
for this happy circumstance; by prudence and a pa- 
triotic foresight which convinced him of a majestic 
future for Germany, his only thought and ambition 
had been to set her steadily in the way of getting 
there. All along her heroes had been ready with their 
lives and their fortunes fighting the battles of others; 
to the remotest parts of the hemisphere the Germans 
had become renowned for manliness and bravery as 
soldiers; as a subjective force they were of infinite 
value to the holy see. The rapidity with which she 
released herself from the last vestiges of barbarism 
and dependence during the auspicious reign of Charles 
V. is historic. From the year of our Lord 1500 through 
half tlje century each year was a record of steady pro- 
gress. In the fifteenth century her arts were crude, 
her architecture advancing little beyond the hard 
Roman original ; she was without laws or law-makers, 

178 Martin Luther. [a. d. 1546. 

vast in territory and people, but subjective to other 
than her own rulers. Tiie weak were oppressed by 
strong and opulent lords who levied at large upon 
the goods of those who came upon their domain. 

Such was essentially the condition of things when 
the child Martin Luther romped in the shade of the 
Thuringian forest. Intestine wars and foreign en- 
tanglements obstructed the good will of Maximilian 
toward the country which he ruled. Only a few years 
before the ashes of Huss and Jerome of Prague had 
floated down on the Rhine. Bohemian blood was 
still at the boiling point, and kept so by the remem- 
brance of many persecutions ; she was ready at the 
word to resort to extremes against her oppressors. 
Relief came at last, not by the sword, but through 
the schools. » 

In i486, the venerable Albert of Brandenburg, 
called Achilles, sat before the younger princes and 
counselled them as to the selection of a king. He was 
a man of many battles and such valor as commanded 
the respect of all. In his heart he had the hope of a 
new future near at hand, so he told the juniors in earn- 
est and eloquent words. The Roman Empire was 
waiting for a king at the hands of this assembly, and 
now for the first time it dawned upon them that as 
Rome ruled them, Germany might as well rule Rome. 
After due deliberation the choice fell upon the son ol 
their own Frederick III., Maximilian. Under Fred- 
erick, the feudal system had rather prospered ; Maxi- 

milian had promised that he would make every effort 
to combat these conditions and insure the peace of 
Germany. It was a shrewd and successful piece of di- 
plomacy. Before the veteran warrior Albert closed 
his eyes, he had the satisfaction of beholding the morn- 
ing star of the new era. The establishment of imper- 
ial courts of justice and registry, coherent laws gov- 
erning the hitherto irregular diets, all pointed towards 
an advancing civilization. 

These diets, — since become the Reiclutag or parlia- 
mentary body of the German government, — were then 
composed of three elements or colleges, the electors, 
the princes, and the cities. Although arbitrary in 
power they were convened and prorogued by imperial 
ukase, pro re 7uita, for extraordinary purposes, hence 
their effectiveness as a deliberative body was limited 
by the imperial will. 

The diets of the latter part of the fifteenth century 
were the first to show a disposition to break away from 
former usages; little more than half a century later 
we find them making demands, taking exceptions to 
the rulings of the monarch, proposing new measures ; 
this was far astray from the old way. 

At Worms the poUticians felt assured of a strong 
popular support, and did not hesitate much to take 
the aggressive. Charles himself had been informed 
by'Aleander and others that the German people were 
united on the Lutheran question, and to preserve his 
crown, if not the head under it, he must show them 

xSo Martin Luther. [A. d. 1546. 

some concessions ; they argued that in after time mat- 
ters could be righted by force. But the after time 
was not a time of retreat ; the progressive party grew 
in strength, pushed forward by books and book-makers, 
and having once tasted the privileges of free govern- 
ment, they sprung suddenly into an atmosphere of in- 

Intoxicated by their apparent triumphs, they went 
headlong to dangerous extremes, some leaders became 
monomaniacs, and that condition in times of peril 
is infectious, so others followed them. It was not 
a long, slow contest, but quick, decisive and disas- 
trous, with a period put to it by burning pincers and 
the glowing dagger. The palings in the market places 
have been capped by no ghastly heads since that time, 
reason and decency came with increasing intelligence. 
Madmen who shook their swords in the faces of 
princes, and princes who put the heel of oppression 
upon the helpless, were condemned alike, the middle 
passage was the safe one, and resolute men with un- 
faltering hope and an unselfish love for Germany were 
seeking to guide her safely to a secure place. It was 
not an undertaking, it grew spontaneously; all the 
elements of civilization converged here, diplomacy 
availed itself of them as invaluable allies, religion saw 
in them the foundations for a more intelligent faith 
while the arts and sciences grew with unwonted rap- 
idity, under their nurture and encouragement. 

It was new life for all. Those who had watched 

hopefully for its coming through the medium of 
courts and councils were not looking in the right 
direction. Nearly all the grand actors who have left 
their names to us as principals in this drama came out 
of obscurity, from the meanest quarter.the homes of 
the rustics and peasantry. Kings and noblemen were 
there by inheritance, these other men were there by 
divine right, every step forward with them was an in- 
spiration ; though opposed by the formidable and 
formal processes of recognized powers they only 
halted for a moment to give heed ; the work went 
steadily on. 

When Charles V.. had cut his way with the sword 
into Wittenberg, standing by the grave of Luther, his 
obsequious attendants proposed to dig up the useless 
bones and submit them to contempt and the pyre, he 
rebuked them with the words, " We war not with the 
dead, but with the living. Let him repose in peace, 
he has already found a judge." At the same time 
learning that the Lutheran form of worship had been 
proscribed by his officers, Charles turned upon them 
with a demand to know by what authority this was 
done ? " Whence has it proceeded ? If It be in our 
name that the service of God has been interdicted, 
here, then does it incur our high displeasure. We 
have altered naught touching religious matters in high 
Germany, why should we do so here ? " 

Charles had not forgotten the warrant he signed at 
Augsburg years before, and the people of North Ger- 

1 82 Martin Luther. [A. D. 1546. 

many had impressed him favorably notwithstanding 
the prejudices encouraged by his Spanish attendants. 
There was German blood enough in his veins to in- 
spire him with a noble magnanimity ; he did not pro- 
pose to torture those who were at his mercy, although 
through the treachery and intrigue of his following, 
many were made to suffer. 

At the time of Luther's death the Roman party 
were exultant under the impression that the removal 
of the great head of the reformation would expedite 
their conquest of his following ; they were not philo- 
sophic enough to see that the principles of Luther 
had become infused into the body of the people, and 
that once having seen the light of liberty, darkness 
was ever afterward abominable. 

Excommunication, which had been regarded as an 
irreparable misfortune, was now a matter of little con- 

The literature of Germany advanced rapidly dur- 
ing the twenty or thirty years that preceded Luther's 
death. Thinking men drew inspiration from the 
labors of Erasmus and Reuchlin. Ulrich von Hut- 
ten fired by the prospect of a free Germany, uttered 
those satires that made him famous — and which event- 
ually forced him to a safe retreat elsewhere, but he 
did not cease his exultation. The Suabian, Sebastian 


Frank, followed him, but his work was of different 
tenor. Johann Fischart was another whose wrath 
was stirred by those who obstructed German progress. 

In prose and poetry, with much wit he did for his 
time and country what Butler did in English. 

This century of German letters, the sixteenth, cul- 
minated in Jacob Boehme, philosopher and mystic. 
Like others of his time, coming from singular nira!- 
obscurity : to his twelfth year the only book that he 
studied from was that one thrown open before him 
while watching cattle in the fields about Gorlitz. Not- 
withstanding this, a few years later he stood at the 
head of the German philosophers of his time. The 
schools looked on in contemptuous amazement, to see 
individuals wielding the weapons hitherto exclusively 
their own. That men were to be invested with the 
privilege of thinking for themselves was distasteful to 
them : such nevertheless was the inevitable result. 
Thereafter the august professors had nought to do 
but to prepare youthful minds; there were no more il- 
lustrious truth-seekers sitting at the feet of this ora- 
cle, the gowns of the doctors had lost their ancient 

Although Martin Luther's activity was in the 
main confined to one feature of this progressive move- 
ment, it had a potential effect over all. To him more 
than to any other man belonged the credit. In the 
face of mighty odds, obstructed by everything that 
was likely to neutralize his labor, he still persisted. 
When other men faltered he put spurs to jaded energy 
and pressed forward. 

Others were found ready to follow this hardy pie- 

184 Martin Luther. [A. d. 1546. 

bian, but he was always in the lead, and when he died 
the momentum of the advance had become so great 
that no finite power could restrain it. Mandates 
from thrones and councils were of no avail. Germany 
had moved to a higher plane. 



The following is a copy of an indulgence in the common form. 

" /^UR LORD JESUS CHRIST have mercy on thee, 
V^ N. N., and absolve thee, by the merits of his moat 
holy sufferings ! And I, in virtue of the apostolic ppwer 
committed to me, absolve thee from all ecclesiastical cen-" 
sures, judgments and penalties that thou mayest have 
merited; and further, from all excesses, sins and crimes 
that thou mayest have committed, however great and enor- 
mous they may be, and of whatever kind, even though they 
should be reserved to our holy father, the Pope, and to the 
Apostolic See. I efface all the stains of weakness and all 
traces of the shame that thou mayest have drawn upon 
thyself by such actions. I remit the pains that thou 
wouldst have had to endure in purgatory. I receive thee 
again to the sacrament of the church. I hereby reincor- 
porate thee in the communion of the saints, and restore 
thee to the innocence and purity of thy baptism ; so that, 
at the moment of death, the gate of the place of torment 
shall be shut against thee, and the gate of paradise and joy 
shall be opened unto thee. And, if thou shouldst live long, 
this grace continueth unchangeable, till the time of tfay 

" In the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy 
Spirit. Amen." 

1 88 Appendix. 

** The brother, John Tetzel, Commissary, hath signed 
this with his own hand.' 



When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, says, " re- 
pent," he means that the whole life of his followers on 
earth shall be a constant and continual repentance ; yet 
internal repentance is of no avail if it does not produce 
external mortification of the flesh. True penitence, repen- 
tance of and grief for sin, will end only when a man passes 
from this life to the life eternal. 

The pope can remit no other penalty than that which 
he has himself imposed. He cannot remit any condemna- 
tion, save to declare and confirm the remission that God 
has made, unless the sin be committed against himself. 

The laws of ecclesiastical penance should be imposed 
only on the living, and in no respect concern the dead. 

No man can be delivered from punishment and saved 
by the pope's indulgence. The pope has no more power 
over purgatory in the church at large, than every bishop 
has in his own diocese, and every vicar in his own parish. 
Besides, who knows whether all the souls in purgatory 
desire to be redeemed ? They say St. Severinus did not. 

It is false, that the moment the money sounds at the 
bottom of the strong box, the soul flies away out of purga- 
tory ; but it is true, that as soon as this sound is heard, 
avarice and the love of gain spring up, increase, and multi-. 

They teach false doctrines, who assert that there is no 
need of contrition or repentance to deliver a soul from pur- 
gatory, or to buy an indulgence. 

Every christian, who feeb true penitence for his sins, re- 
ceivts a fuU pardon, without need of letter of indulgence; 
and every true christian, living or dead, has part in all the 
good things of Christ or of the church, by the gift of 

Still we must not despise the pope's pardon, regarded 
as a declaration of God's pardon. 

True repentance seeks and loves chastisement; but the 
pleasantness of indulgence makes one hate chastisement. 

The pope does not wish us to consider buying an indul- 
gence as an act of mercy. He who gives to the poor and 
needy does better than he who buys an indulgence ; for 
the work of charity makes a man more pious, while the 
purchase of an indulgence only makes him more confident 
in himself, and self-secure from punishment. 

He who sees his neighbor in want, and instead of min- 
istering to his needs, spends his money for an indulgence, 
does not buy the pope's indulgence, but brings upon himself 
the wrath of God. 

If a man have nothing superfluous, it is his duty to care 
for his own family rather than to spend his money for in- 

To buy an indulgence is a free-will act, and not one by 

The pope's indulgence is good, if one does not put one's 
trust in it, but very pernicious if it cause the loss of piety. 

If the pope knew of the extortions of the indulgence 
preachers, he would rather the Metropolitan church of St. 
Peter were burnt and reduced to ashes than to see ii built 
with the skin, the flesh, and the bones of his sheep. 

The change of the canonical penalty into the purgato- 

1 90 Appendix. 

rial is a tare, a tarnel of dissension ; the bishops were evi- 
dently asleep when this pernicious plant was sown. 

The pope must certainly desire, that if things so trivial # 
as these pardons are celebrated with a bell, a ceremony, a 
solemnity, a thing so great as the gospel should be preached 
with a hundred bells, a hundred ceremonies, a hundred 

The true treasure of the church is the gospel of the 
glory and grace of God ; many have reason to hate this, for 
by it the first become the last ; while many have reason to 
love the treasure of the indulgences, for by them the last 
become the first. 

The treasures of the gospel are the nets with which they 
fish for men of worth ; the treasures of the indulgences are 
the nets with which they fish for men worth money. 

To say that the cross placed on the arms of the pope, 
is equivalent to the cross of Christ, is blasphemy. 

Why does not the pope, in his very holy character, at 
once release all souls from purgatory } This would be but 
bestowing his power far more worthily, than for him to de- 
liver a few souls for money, and that money to be used for a 
building. Money so gained brings calamity with it. What 
is this strange compassion of God and of the pope, which, 
for so many crowns, changes the soul of an impious wretch, 
an enemy of God and man, into a soul holy and agreeable 
to the Lord ? 

Cannot the pope build a single church for the Metro- 
politan cathedral with his own money, rather than to use 
that of impoverished Christians ; for his riches exceed the 
most enormous accumulations elsewhere. 

What does the pope remit to those who, by their com* 

plete repentance, have already purchased a right to fall re- 

Fie on the prophets who say to Christ's people ; The 
cross ! the cross ! and show us not the cross. 

Fie on the prophets who say to Christ's people ; Peace ! 
Peace ! and give us not peace. 

Christians must be taught to follow Christ, their chief, 
through pain and punishment, even through hell itself; 
that they may thus he assured that it is through tribulations 
heaven Is entered, and not through security and peace. 

The dogmatical theses sent out by Luther at about the 
same time were : 

" It is not in the course of nature for man to desire God 
to be God. He would rather himself be God, and that God 
were not God. 

It is false that the appetite is free to ga as it will in the 
two senses ; it is not free, but captive. 

There is not in nature, in the presence of God, anything 
but concupiscence. 

It is false that this concupiscence may be regulated by 
the virtue of hope. For hope is contrary to charity, which 
seeks and desires that only which is of God, Hope does 
not proceed from our merits, but from our passions, which 
efface our merits. 

The best, the infallible preparation and sole disposition 
for receiving grace, is the choice and predestination de- 
creed hy God from all eternity. 

On the part of man, nothing precedes grace, but the 
non-disposition to grace, or rather, rebellion. 

It is false that invincible ignorance can be put forward 

192 Appendix. 

as an excuse. The ignorance of God, of oneself, of good 
works, is the invincible nature of man. 

Extract from Luther s Sermon on All ^Saints Sunday^ after 
publication of t/ie theses : Hazlitfs translation, 

" Even though the church should really declare that 
indulgences efface sins better than works of satisfaction, it 
were a thousand times fitter for a Christian not to buy 
them, but rather to do the work of repentance, and suffer 
the penalties ; for the indulgences are and can only be dis- 
pensations from good works and from salutary penalties. 
It were far better and surer to give what you can- spare 
towards the construction of St. Peter's, than to buy the 
indulgences preached for that purpose. But, first of all, if 
you have to spare, you should give it to your poor neighbor 
— that is better than to give it to raise up stone walls ; and 
if there be no one in your neighborhood who requires your 
assistance, then give it to the churches of your own town. 
If any then remain, give it to St. Peter, and not before. 
My desire, my prayer, and my advice is, that you buy not 
these indulgences. Leave it to bad, idle, sleepy church- 
men to buy them ; you can dispense with them. Whether 
men can be drawn from purgatory by the efficacy of indul- 
gences, I cannot say ; but I do not believe they can. Some 
doctors say they can ; but they cannot prove it, and the 
church says nothing about the matter ; and at all events, 
the surest way is to have recourse to prayer. What I 
teach is true, is founded on scripture. Let the scho- 
lastic doctors keep to their scholastics ; all of them put 
together are not enough to warrant a preaching up of in- 
dulgences. The indulgences, instead of preaching expia- 

iton, leave the Christian in the mire of sin. If we are not 
allowed to say anything against indulgences, there ought 
not to be so much said about their efficacy. They that 
preach up indulgences make fools of you ; they are not 
looking after your salvation, but after your pennies. Let 
some charitably charge me with heresy, because I have 
told out truths that do harm to their shop ; what care I for 
their brawling? Empty pates, that never opened the 
Bible, who know .nothing of the doctrines of Christ, or 
even about themselves, and are ever groping in the dark. 
God give them understanding." 


Luther's Letter to thi Nobles. 
HazlitC's trnnslalion from Mtchdet. 

" To his imperial Majesty and the Christian nobtlily of a. 
the German Nation, Martin I-uther wishes grace and the 
strength of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

"The Romanists have skillfully raised around them 
three walls, by means of which they have hitherto protected 
themselves against all reform, to the great detriment of ^ 
Christianity and Christendom. First, they pretend that 
the spiritual power is above temporal power ; next, that to 
the pope alone it appertains to interpret the Bible; third 
that the pope alone has the right to convoke a council. 

" God aid lis and give us one of those trumpets which 
heretofore overthrew the walls of Jericho, that we may 
level with the ground these walls of straw and paper; ex- 
pose to full light the tricks and lies of the devil, and re- 
cover by penitence and amendment the grace of God. Let 

begin with the first wall. 

1 94 Appendix. 

" First wall. — All Christians are of spiritual condition, 
and there is among them no difference but that which re- 
sults from the difference of their functions, according to 
the word of the apostle, (i Cor. xii.) 'The body is one, 
and hath many members, but the body is not one member, 
but many.* 

" We have all the same baptism, the same gospel, the 
same faith, and we are all equal in our capacity of Chris- 
tians. It should be with the spiritual minister as it is with 
the civil magistrate, who, during the exercise of his func- 
tions, is above his fellow-citizens, but on resigning his 
office, becomes as he was before, merely one among them. 
Indelible characters are a chimera. The secular power 
being constituted by God, for the purpose of punishing the 
wicked and protecting the good, its ministration should ex- 
tend over all Christians, without consideration of any per- 
son whatever, pope, bishop, monk, nun, or what not. If a 
priest is killed, the whole district is put under interdict. 
Why not just the same when a poor peasant has been mu| 
dered ? 

" Whence such a difference between Christians, whom 
Jesus Christ calls equals ? The distinction arises simply 
and solely from laws and human inventions. 

" Second wall. — We are all priests. Does not the apos- ^ 
tie (i Cor. ii.) say, * He that is spiritual judgeth all things, j 
yet he himself is judged of no man 1 * We have all one \ 
mind in the faith, says the gospel elsewhere ; why, then, 
should we not feel, as well as the popes, who are often in- 
fidels, what is conformable, what is contrary to the faith ? '' 

** Third wall.-f-The first councils were not convoked by 
the popes. That of Nicsea itself was convoked by the Em 





by the 


peror Constanline. ) When a town is siirpt 
enemy, the honor is to him who first of all c 
whether he be burgomaster or not. Why should not the 
same be the case with reference to him, who, a watchful 
sentinel against our infernal enemies, should be the first 
to see them advance, and the first to assemble Christian^, 
against them ? Must he needs be pope to do this?/ Let 
Ihe pope put an end to the preposterous luxury with 
which he is surrounded, and make an approach to the pov- 
erty of Jesus Christ. His court swallows up enormous 
suras. It has been calculated, that more than three hun- 
dred thousand florins are sent off every year from Ger- 
many to Rome. Twelve cardinals would be amply suf- 
ficient for all purposes, and the pope ought Co maintain 
ihem. Why should the Germans permit themselves to be 
despoiled by cardinals, who monopolize all the rich prefer- 
ments, and spend the revenue at Rome? The French do 
not suffer it. Let us not give another farthing to the pope, 
as subsidies against the Turks ; the whole thing is a snare, 
a miserable pretext for the purpose of draining us of more 
money. Let us no longer recognize his right to investiture. 
Rome draws everything into her bag by the most impudent 
chicanery. There is one man in that city, a mere courtier, 
who alone possesses twenty-two benefices, seven priories 
and forty-four prebends. Let the secular authority hence- 
forward abstain from sending to Rome the annates it has 
been in the haljit for the last hundred years of sending^ 
!,-,'i it be sufficient, for the installation of bishops, that they 
he confirmed by the two nearest bishops, or by their arch- 
bisiiaps, conformably with the enactment of the council of 

196 Appendix. 

" My only object in writing this, is to afford matter for 
confirmatory reflection to those who are disposed to aid 
the German nation in becoming once more Christian, and 
once more free, after the deplorable government it has 
suffered at the hands of the Antichrist, the pope. . . . 
Let fhere be fewer pilgrimages to Italy. . . . Let the 
mendicant orders become extinct. They have degenerated, 
and no longer fulfil the intentions of their founders. . . 
Let us permit priests to marry. ... It will be well 
to suppress a great proportion of the saints* days, and 
make them coincident with Sundays. . . . The cele- 
brating the festivals of patron saints is prejudicial to so- 
ciety. Let fast days be put an end to. There are many 
things which may have been desirable under other circum- 
stances and in other times, which are far worse than use- 
less now. Let mendicity be extinguished, by each parish 
being bound to take charge of its own poor. It will be 
good to prohibit the foundation of private . masses. The 
doctrine of the Bohemians should be enquired into more 
impartially and fully than has yet been done. And we 
might with good effect unite with them in resisting the 
Court of Rome. Let the decretals be abolished. Let the 
houses for prostitution be suppressed. 

" I have another song in my head upon Rome and the 
Romanists : if their ears itch for it, they shall have it, to 
the very last octave. Dost thou hear me, pope of Rome 1 
Thou art the greatest sinner of all ; thy throne is not sus- 
pended from heaven, but fixed to the gate of hell. Who 
gave thee power to set thyself above thy God, and trample 
under feet His precepts and commandments ? 

" . . / Poor Germans that we are, we have been 



deceived ! We were born to be masters, and we have 
been compelled to bow the head beneath the yoke of our 
tyrants, and to become slaves. Name, title, ensigns of 
royalty, we possess all these; force, power, right, liberty, 
all these have gone over to tli« popes, who have robbed us 
of them. For them the grain, for us the straw. It is time 
we should cease to content ourselves with the mere image 
of empire; it is time we resume the sceptre, and wilh the 
sceptre our body, and our soul, and our treasure ; it is 
time the glorious Teutonic people should cease to be the 
puppet of the Roman pontiff. Because the pope crowns 
the emperor, it does not follow that the pope is superior 
to the emperor. Samuel, who crowned Saul and David, 
was not above these kings, nor Nathan above Solomon, 
whom he consecrated, Let the emperor then be a verita- 
ble emperor, and no longer allow himself to be stripped of y 
his sword or of his sceptre ! " 

Extract from a Discourse on the Spiritual Advantages aris- 
ing from the furtherance of schools, and the injury come- 
qiient on the rteglect of them* 
I will say nothing here of how fine a pleasure it is for a 
man to be learned, albeit, he have never an office; so that 
he can read all manner of things by himself at home, talk 
and converse with learned people, travel and act in foreign 

• In nearly every lenEthy discourse Luther had somelhiiig to say 
concerning the advantages of learning. He lost no opponuniiy lu im- 
press upon the mitids of his listeners, that it not a\Aj afforded a souica 
for endletd enjoyments but also conferred a ceruin power which wu 
obloinable by no Dthci meani. 

198 Appendix. 

lands. For peradventure there be few who will be moved 
by such delights. But seeing thou art so bent upon mam- 
mon and victual, look here and see how many and how 
great goods God has founded upon schools and scholars, 
so that thou shalt no more despise learning and art by rea- 
son of poverty. 

Behold ! emperors and kings must have chancellors and 
scribes, counsellors, jurists and scholars. There is no 
prince but he must have chancellors, jurists, counsellors, 
scholars and scribes ; so likewise all counts, lords, cities, 
castles, must have syndics, city clerks, and other learned 
men ; nay, there is not a nobleman but must have a scribe. 

Reckon up, now, how many kings, princes, counts, lords, 
cities and towns, etc. Where will they find learned men 
three years hence ? seeing that here and there already a 
want is felt. 

Truly I think kings will have to become jurists, and 
princes chancellors, counts and lords will have to become 
scribes and burgomasters sacristans. 

Therefore, I hold that never was there a better time to 
study than now ; not only for the reason that the art is now 
so abundant and so cheap, but also because great wealth 
and honor must needs ensue, and they that study now will 
be men of price ; insomuch that two princes and three 
cities shall tear one another for a single scholar. For look 
above or around thee, and thou wilt find that innumerable 
oflEices wait for learned men, before ten years shall have 
sped ; and that few are being educated for the same.* 

Besides honest gain, they have, also, honor. For chan- 

* He forecasts the future of Germany, looking to that time wheu 
every office in the land should be occupied by natives. 



Appendix. igg 

cellors, city clerks, jurists, and people in office, must sit 
with those who are placed on high, and help, counsel and 
govern. And they, in fact, are lords of this world, although 
they are not so in respect of person, birth, and rank* 

Solomon himself mentions that a poor man once saved 
a city, by his wisdom, against a mighty king. Not that I 
would have, herewith, warriors, troopers and what belongs 
to strife done away, or despised and rejected. They also 
when they are obedient help to preserve peace and all 
things with their fist. Each has his honor before God as 
well as his place and work. 

I have heard of the worthy and beloved Emperor Maxi- 
milian, how, when the great boobies complained that he 
employed so many writers for missions and other purposes, 
he is reported to have said ; " What shall I do ? They will 
not suffer themselves to be used in this way, therefore I 
must employ writers." And further: "Knights I can 
create but doctors I cannot create." So have I likewise 
heard of a fine nobleman, that he said, " I will let my son 
study. It is no great art to hang two legs over a steed and 
be a rider ; he shall soon leani me that ; and he shall be 
fine and well spoken." \ 

* To siL with the leameil doctors and Helcnists was then an honor 
and B. privilege allowed to few. Those whu could nol. were tauelit lo 
respect llmsc who could. At (he marriage of Melanclhnn, Lulher'fc 
father sat with the Doctors, so we may safely reason that Ihe blood of 
the great reformer was not without the inheritance of an ambition for 

t So was the decline of fendalism slowly being effected by the Infu- 
sion of more noble ambitions. Slowly but surely the Kniyhls of the 
arena were being unhorsed by those unarmed Knighu who forced tU» 
conquest of Wonns, and at last of Chtisiendom. 

200 Appendix. 

They say, and it is true, the pope was once a pupil too. 
Therefore despise me not the fellows who say ^'' panem 
propter Deum " before the doors and sing the bread- 
song.* Thou hearest, as this psalm says, great princes and 
lords sing. I too have been one of these fellows, and have 
received bread at the houses, especially at Eisenach, my 
native city. Although, afterward, my dear father main- 
tained me, with all love and faith, in the high school at 
Erfurt, and, by his sore sweat and labor, has helped me to, 
what I have become — still I have been a beggar at the doors 
of the rich, and, according to this psalm, have attained so 
far by means of the pen, that, now, I would not compound 
with the Turkish emperor, to have his wealth and forego 
my art. Yea, I would not take for it the wealth of the 
world many times multiplied ; and yet, without doubt, I 
had never attained to it, had I not chanced upon a school 
and the writers trade. 

Yea ! sayest thou, though it be fitting and necessary to 
have schools, of what use is it to teach the Latin, Greek, 
and Hebrew tongues, and other fine arts ? Could we not 
teach, in German^ the Bible and God's word, which are 
sufficient for salvation ? Answer — Yes, I know alas ! too 
well, that we Germans must always be and continue beasts 
and wild animals.f So the surrounding nations call us, 

* This was the song sung by Luther under the windows of Ursulla 
Cottas house. Each verse ended with the words ^^ partem propter Deum** 
It was in common use by the little suppliants for a long period. So was 
known as the bread-song. 

\ This was a stroke of diplomacy.- It gathered to his standard 
that vast and powerful following which hitherto reasoned and acted in 
darkness. " Here is a man," said they " who will teach us in our own 
tongue that we may know how and when to act, wc will follow him. 



and we deserve it well. Bui I wonder we never say : of 
what use are silks, wine, spices, and outiandish wares of 
foreign nations ? Seeing we have wine, corn, wool, flax, 
wood and stones in German lands — not only a sufficiency 
for support, but also a choice, and selection for honor and 
adornment. We are willing to contemn the arts and lan- 
guages which, without any injury are a great ornament, use, 
honor, and advantage, boih for the understanding of the 
Sacred Scriptures, and for the conduct of worldly govern- 
ment; and are not willing to dispense with outlandish 
wares which are neither necessary nor useful, and moreover 
distress and ruin us. Have we not good reason to be called 
German fools and beasts?* 

Indeed, if there were no other use to be derived from 
the languages, it ought to rejoice and animate us that we 
have so noble and fine a gift of God; wherewith he has 
visited and favored us Germans above all other lands. It 
doth not appear that the De-vil would suffer these same 
languages to come forward by means of the High schools 
and Cloisters; on the contrary they have ahvays raved 
most vehemently and still rave against them. For the 
Devil smelled the roast, f that if the languages revived, his 
kingdom would get a hole which he could not easily stop 
up again. Now, since he hath not been able to prevent 
their revival, he thinks still to keep them so poorly, that 
they shall decline and fall away again of themselves. It is 
no welcome guest that hath come into his house with 

* Here was Ihe argument upon -which CatUladl and Ws ranitlinU 
follDwing based iheir action, when ihey lore down ihc efEjjics and bent 


Jt the Mitined gU^s < 
\ Oiic English vtr 

n flfler 
n has inverted diis. We say "smelled a rat." 

202 Appendix. 

them ; therefore he means to entertain him in such a way 
that he shall not long remain. There be few of us that 
perceive this wicked trick of the Devil, my dear masters ! 
Therefore, beloved Germans ! let us here open our eyes, 
thank God for the noble treasure and take fast hold of it, 
that it may not again be wrested from us, and the Devil 
wreak his spite.* 

Portion of Luther s Sermon Concerning Angels, \ 

From a discourse on good and evil angels, preached at Wit- 
tenberg, at the feast of Michaelmas, 1533 ; from the words : 
" Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones I for I 
say unto you, that in Heaven, their angels do always behold 
the face of my Father which is in Heaven?* Matt, xviii — 10. 

This, peradventure is a childish sermon, but, neverthe- 
less, it is good and needful ; and so simple and so needful 
that it may profit us old folks also. For the angels are not 
only present with children, but also with us who are old. 
So says St. Paul, in the first epistle to the Corinthians, xL 
10. "For this cause ought the woman to have a power on 
her head, because of the angels." Women should not be 
adorned in the church and congregation as if they were 

* He implies that it has been the studious effort of Rome to keep 
Germany in darkness. That was in fact the secret of Roman supre- 

f This discourse, as the text implies, refers more particularly to 
children. For them Luther had an active and abiding affection, fre- 
quently leaving his books to join with them at play. When he had 
arrived at paternal dignities he loved them not less. Perhaps the cheer- 
Icssness of his own youth kindled in him a sympathy which would try 
to shield others from such retrospects. 

going to a dance, but be covered with a veil for the sake of 
the angels. St, Paul here fetcheih in the angels, and saith 
that they are present at the sermon, and at sacred offices 
and divine service. This service of the angels doth not 
seem to be precious, but herein we see what are genuine 
good works. The dear angels are not proud as we men; 
but they walk in divine obedience, and in the service of 
men and wait upon young children. How could they per- 
form a meaner work than to wait day and night upon 
children ? What doth a child ? Jt suckles, weeps, sleeps, 
and is like other beings. Truly an admirable thing, that 
the holy ministering Spirits should wait upon children, who 
eat, drink, sleep, and wake ! To look at it, it doth indeed 
seem a lowly office. But the dear angels perform it with 
joy, for it is well-pleasing to God, who hath enjoined it 
upon them. A monk, on the contrary, saith, shall I wait 
upon children? 'That will I not do. I will go about 
higher and greater works. I will put on a cowl and will 
mortify myself in the cloister. But if thou wilt consider it 
aright, these are the highest and best offices, which are ren- 
dered to children and to pious Christians. What do 
parents? What are their works? They are the menials 
and the servants of young children. All that they do — 
they themselves confess — they do for the sake of their chil- 
dren, that they may be educated. So do also the dear 
angels. Why, then, should w-e be ashamed to wait upon 
children f And if the dear angels did not take charge of 
children, what would become of them ? For parents with 
the help of prince and magistrate are far too feeble to bring 
them up. Were it not for the protection of the dear 
angelSj no child would grow to fuli age, though the parents 

204 Appendix. 

should bestow all possible diligence upon them. Therefore 
hath God ordained and set for the care and defence of 
children, not only parents, but also emperors, kings, princes, 
and lastly. His high and great Spirits, the holy angels, that 
no harm may befall them. It were well that the children 
were impressed with these things.* 

On the other hand one should also tell children of the 
wiles of the Devil and of evil spirits. Dear child, one 
should say to them, if thou wilt not be pious, thy little 
angel will run away from, thee, and the evil Spirit the black 
Popelmann, will come to thee. Therefore be pious and 
pray, and thy little angel will come to thee, and the Popel- 
mann will leave thee. And this is even the pure truth. The 
Devil sits in a corner, and if he could throttle both parent 
and child, he would do it not otherwise than gladly. . . 

Thus are the dear angels watchmen also, and keep 
watch over us and protect us. And were it not for their 
guardianship, the black Nick would soon find us, seeing he 
is an angry and untiring Spirit ; but the dear angels are 
our true guardians against him. When we sleep and par- 
ents at home and the magistrate in the city and the prince 
of the country sleep likewise, and can neither govern nor 
protect us, then watch the holy angels and guard and 
govern us for the best. When the Devil can do nothing 
else he affrighteth me in my sleep or maketh me sick that I 

* Our own cradle song beginning 

" Hush my dear lie still and slumber 
Holy angels guard thy bed " 
is from an ancient German tradition that a special guardianship of this 
kind is maintained over children. Commencing with the Christ-child 
that watchfulness has been extended over all children since. 


cannot sleep. Then no man can defend me; all they that 
are in the house are asleep ; bul the dear angels sit at my 
bedside, and they say to the Devd : Let this man sleep. 
This is the office which the angels perform for me, unless I 
have deserved that God should withdraw his hand from 
me, and not permit his angels to guard and defend me, but 
suffer me to be scourged a little, to the end that I may be 
humbled, and acknowledge the blessing of God which he 
conferreth upon me by the ministry of the dear angels. . . 

I myself do often feel the raging of the Devi! within 
me. At times I be^eve ; at times 1 believe not. At times 
I am merry ; at times I am sad. Yet do I see that it 
happeneth not as the evil multitude wish, who would not 
give so much as a penny for preaching, baptism, and sacra- 
ment. Now, although the Devil is beyond measure wicked 
and hath no good thing in purpose, yet do all orders pro- 
ceed and remain according to wont 

If we keep these instructions of which I have spoken, 
then shall we continue in the true understanding and faith, 
and the dear angels will continue in their office and honors. 
They will do what is commanded them by God, and we 
shall do whatsoever is commanded us. That thus we and 
they may know and praise God for our Creator and Lord, 


2o6 Appendix. 

Concerning God the Father, 



Art /. " / believe in God the Father, the Almighty, Creator 
of Heaven and Earth'* 

He it is first of all held up to us that we know and 
learn whence we are derived, what we are, and where we 
belong. All wise men have ever been concerned to know 
whence the world and ourselves have pjjoceeded, but have 
not been able to discover. They have supposed that man 
is born by chance, without a master by whom his birth is 
ordained and brought to pass, and that he lives and dies 
by chance like other beasts. Some have advanced farther, 
and have pondered this subject until they were forced to 
conclude that the world and man must have proceeded 
from an eternal God, because they are such mighty and 
glorious creations. Nevertheless, they have not been able 
to attain to any true knowledge thereof. But we know it 
well, howbeit not of and from ourselves, but from the word 
of God which is here brought before us, in the creed. 
Therefore wouldst thou know whence thou and I and all 
men are derived ? Listen, and I will tell thee. It is God 
the Father, the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth, an 
only God, who has created and preserves all things. Now 
thou knowcst it. It is indeed a simple doctrine to look at 

** The formal theory of protestantism was there drawn up by Luther 
and Melancthon Feb. 15th, 1537. This discourse formed the substance 
of a tract published by Luther that year.entitled " Von der Gewalt und 
den Friffiat des Fapsies*' 


and a plain sermon. And yet no man, be he as wise as he 
could be, was able to find it, save he who came down from 
heaven, and revealed the same to us. 

The wise man, Aristotle, concludes that the world ex- 
isted from eternity. To that, one must say, that he knew 
nothing at all of this art. But when it is said that Heaven 
and earth are a creation or work made by Him who is called 
an only God and made of nothing, that is an art above all 
arts. And thus it is with me, and thee, and the world. 
Sixty years ago I was nothing, as yet. And so innumerable 
children will be bom after us, who are nothing as yet. So 
the world six thousand years ago was nothing, and, in time, 
will be nothing again. And so, all was brought out of 
nothing into being, and shall be brought out of being into 
nothing again, until "all is created anew more glorious and 
fair. Thfe I say we know and the Holy Scriptures teacheth 
it us, and little children have it jiresented to them thus, in 
the words of the creed — " I believe in God the Father, etc." 

Therefore, learn first of all from this, whence thou 
comest ; namely, from him who is called Creator of heaven 
and earth. That may be counted a great and sublime 
honor, which I ought reasonably to accept with great joy, 
that I am called and am a creature of the only and most 
high God. The world seekelh after honor with money, 
force, and the like. But it hath not the piety rightly to 
consider and reflect upon this honor, concerning which we 
pray, through the mouth of young children, here in the 
creed, that God is our Master, who has given us body and 
soul, and preserves them still from day to day. If we 
rightly believed this and deemed it true, there would spring 
from it great praise and boasting ; for that I can say, the 

2o8 Appendix. 

Master who has created the sun he has also created me. 
As now, the sun boasts its beauty and its glory, so will I 
boast and say : I am the work and creature of my God. 

With this honor should every man be satisfied, and say 
with joy, I believe in God, Creator of heaven and earth, 
who has hung his name about my neck, that I should be 
his creature, and that he should be called my God and 
Maker. It is a children's sermon and a common saying, 
nevertheless, one sees well who they be that understand it. 
We deem it no particular honor that we are God's creatures, 
but that any one should be a prince or great lord, we open 
eyes and mouth. Yet are these but human creatures as 
Peter calls them, and an afterwork. For, if God did not 
come first with His creatures, and make a man, there could 
be no prince. Yet do all men clamor about such an one, 
as if it were some great and precious thing, wHfereas it is 
much greater and more glorious to be a creature of God. 
Therefore should servants and maid-servants and all men 
accept this high honor and say, I am a man. That is a 
higher title than to be a prince. Not God but men make 
the prince, but God alone can make me a man. 

It is said of the Jews, that they have a prayer wherein 
they praise God for three things. First, that they are created 
men and not irrational animals. Secondly, that they are 
created male and not female. Thirdly, that they are 
created Jews and not heathens. But that is praising God 
as fools are wont, by flouting and vilifying other creatures 
of God, at the same time. So doth, not the Psalmist praise 
him. He includes all* that God has made and says. Praise 
the Lord on earth ! ye whales and all the deeps ! 

Furthermore this article teacheth us not only who hath 




created us and whence we are, but also where we belong. 
This is shown us by the word Father. He is at the same 
time Father and Almighty Creator. The beasts cannot call 
him Father, but we are to call him thus and to be called 
his children. With this word he showeth what destination 
he hath appointed us, having first taught us whence we are 
and what praise and honor have been bestowed upon us. 
What is the end and purpose of the whole ? This, — that 
ye shall be children and that I will be your Father. That 
I have not only created you and will preserve yon here, but 
that I will have you to be my children, and suffer you to 
be my heirs, who shall not be thrust out of the house like 
other creatures, oxen, cows, sheep, etc., that either perish 
or else are eaten. But, besides that ye are my creatures, 
re shall also be forevermore rny children and live alway. 

Thus do we pray and confess when we say in the creed, 
I believe in God the Father, that, in like manner as he if 
Father and liveth forever, we also, as his children, shall 
live forever and shall not perish. Therefore are we by so 
much a higher and fairer creation than other creatures, 
that we are not only creatures of God and his work, but 
are destined also to live forever with our Father, 

'I'his is an article with which we should day by day 
converse, that, the longer we taste thereof, the more we 
may prove it ; for it is impossible, with words or with 
thoughts, to comprehend what is meant by God the Father. 
A sated and weary heart may hear but doth not consider 
it. But the heart which rightly received such words would 
often think thereon with joy, and when it looked upon the 
sun, moon, and other creatures, would recognize herein a 
special favor, that it is called a child of God, and that God 

2IO Appendix. 

is willing to be and remain our Father, and that we shall 
evermore live and remain with God. 

This, then, is the first article, whence we briefly learn 
that a Christian is a fair and glorious creation that cometh 
from God, and that the end which he craves and for which 
he is destined, is eternal life. 

Dr. Martin Luther's Simple Method How to Pray, Writ^ 

ten for Master Peter {Barber^ 

Dear Master Peter : 

I give you as good as I have, and will show 
you how I myself manage with prayer. Our Lord God, 
grant unto you and every one to manage better. Amen ! 

Firsts when I feel that I am become cold and indis- 
posed to prayer, by reason of other business and thoughts, 
I take my psalter and run into my chamber, or, if day and 
season serve, into the church to the multitude, and begin 
to repeat to myself — ^just as children use — the ten com-* 
mandments, the creed, and, according as I have time, some 
sayings of Christ or of Paul, or some Psalms. Therefore, it 
is well to let prayer be the first employment in the early 
morning and the last in the evening. Avoid diligently 
those false and deceptive thoughts which say : Wait a little, 
I will pray an hour hence ; I must first perform this or 
that. For, with such thoughts, a man quits prayer for 
business, which lays hold of and entangles him, so that he 
comes not to pray, the whole day long. 

Howbeit, works may sometimes occur which are as good, 
or better than prayer, especially if necessity require them. 


There is a saying to this effect which goes under the name 
of St. Jerome; "All the works of the faithful arc prayer," 
And ihere is a proverb: "Whoso labors faithfully, he prays 
twice." The meaning of which saying must be, that a 
believer fears and honors God in his labor, and thinks of 
his commandments— to &o wrong to no man — not to steal 
nor take advantage, nor to betray. And, doubtless, such 
thoughts and such faith make his work a prayer and an 
offering of praise. On the other hand, it must be equally 
true that the works of the unbelieving are mere curses, and 
that he who labors unfaithfully curses twice. For the 
thoughts of his heart in his employment must lead him to 
despise God and to transgress his law, to do wrong to his 
neighbor, to steal, and to betray. What are such thoughla 
but mere curses against God and man ? 

. . . , Of constant prayer, Christ indeed says, men 
ought always to pray. For men ought always to guard 
against sin and wrong, which no man can do except he fear 
God and set his commandment before his eyes. Never- 
theless, we must take heed that we do not disuse ourselves 
to actual prayer, and inteqiret works to be necessary which . 
are not necessary, and by that means become at last negli- 
gent and indolent, and cold, and reluctant to pray. For 
the Devil is not indolent or negligent around us. And our 
'flesh is alive and fresh toward sin and averse from the 
spirit of prayer. 

Now when the heart is warmed by this oral communion 
and has come to itself, then kneel down or stand with 
folded hands, and eyes toward Heaven and say or think, in 
as few words as possible.* 

* Notice in all ihe produclions of Lalher that there are no luper. 

i 1 2 Appendix. 

Finally, observe that thou must ever make the ** Amen 
strong, and not doubt but that God assuredly heareth thee 
with all his grace, and saith "yea" to thy prayer. And 
think that thou kneelest or standest not alone, but the 
whole Christendom, or all pious Christians, with thee, and 
thou among them, in consenting unanimous supplication 
which God cannot despise. And quit not thy prayer until 
thou hast said or thought, — " Go to now, this prayer hath 
been heard, heard with God ; that know I surely and of a 
truth." That is the meaning of amen. 

Also, thou must know that I would not have thee to 
repeat all these words in thy prayer, for that would make 
it, at last, a babble and a vain empty gossip — a reading 
from the book and after the letter, such as the rosaries of 
the laity and the prayers of the priests and monks have 
been. My purpose is to awaken the heart and instruct it 
in what kind of thought to connect with the Lord's prayer. 
If the heart be rightly warmed and eager for prayer, it can 
express these thoughts with very different words, perhaps 
with fewer, perhaps with more. For I, myself, do not bind 
myself to precisely these words and syllables, but say the 
words to day after this fashion, tomorrow otherwise, ac- 
cording as I feel warm and free. I keep as nearly as I can 
to the same thoughts and meaning. But it will sometimes 
happen that while engaged with some single article or 
petition, I walk into such rich thoughts that I leave the 
other six. And when these rich and good thoughts come 
one ought to give place to them and let other prayers go 

fluous words. This, also, is a departure from the practices of his time, 
when sentences and subjects were prolix and it was considered a mark 
of scholarship to introduce as much tributary matter as possible. 

and listen in silence, and on no account offer any hindrance ; 
for then the Holy Ghost himself preaches, and one word of 
his preaching is better than a thousand of our prayers. 
And so I have often learned more from one prayer than I 
could have got from much reading and composing. 

Wherefore it is of the greatest importance that the 
heart be disengaged and disposed to prayer; as saith the 
Preacher (cap. iv. 17.) "Prepare thy heart before prayer, 
that ihou mayst not tempt God." What else is it but 
tempting God, when the moutii babbles while the heart is 
distracted with other things ? Like the priest who prayed 
after this fashion: " Deus in auditarum meum intende j 
Fellow hast thou unharnessed the horses ? Domine ad 
adjurandum me festina ; Maid go and milk the cows! 
Gloria patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancta ; Run boy as if the 
Devil were after thee ! " etc. Of such prayers I have heard 

and experienced much in Popedom in my day 

But' now, God be praised I see well that that is not prayer 
in which one forgets what one has said. For a true prayer 
is conscious of all its words and thoughts, from the begin- 
ning to the end of the prayer. 

Even so, a good and diligent barber must fix his 
thoughts, his purpose, and his eyes, with great exactness 
upon the razor and the hair and not forget where he is, in 
the stroke or the cut.* But if lie chooses to chat much at 
the same time, or hath his thoughts or his eyes elsewhere, 
he is like to cut one's mouth and nose and throat into the 
bargain. Thus each thing — if it is to be done well — re- 
quires the entire man, with all his senses and members. 
* The petGon lo wUom tbU leiiei wna addressed, wu by trade a 

214 Appendix. 

As the saying goes " Pluribus intentus, minor est ad singula 
Si'nsus ;** he who thinks of many things thinks of nothing 
and does nothing aright ? How much more must prayer — 
if it is to be a good prayer — possess the heart entirely and 

This is briefly said of the " Our Father," or of prayer, 
as I myself am wont to pray. For to this day I suck still 
at the Paternoster, like a child. I eat and drink thereof 
like a full-grown man ; and can never have enough. It is 
to me, even more than the Psalter, (which notwithstanding 
I dearly love,) the best of all prayers. Assuredly it will 
•be found that the right Master hath ordained and taught it. 
And it is a pity upon pities that such a prayer of such a 
Master, should be babbled and rattled over by all the 
world so entirely without devotion. Many pray, it may be, 
some thousand Paternosters a year; and if they should 
pray a thousand years after that fashion, they would not 
have tasted or prayed one letter or title thereof. In fine, 
the Paternoster (as well as the name and word of God) is 
the greatest martyr upon earth, for every one tortures and 
abuses it ; few comfort and make it glad by a true use 
of it. 

Luther's Prayer at the Diet of Wornts* 

Almighty, eternal God ! What a strange thing is this 
world ! How doth it open wide the mouths of the people ! 
How small and poor is the confidence of men toward 

* This prayer was considered among the most effective of Luther's 
productions. It was published immediately aXter the closing of the 
diet and had the effect to intensify ihe feeling in his favor. 


God ! How is the flesh so lender and weak, and the Devil 
so mighty and so busy through his apostles and the wise of 
this world ! How soon do they withdraw the hand, and 
whirl away and run the common path and the broad way 
to hell, where the godless belong. They look only upon 
that which is splendid and powerful, great and mighty, and 
which hath consideration. If 1 turn my eyes thither also, 
it is all over with me; the bell is cast and the judgment is 

Thou my God 

n and wisdom of all 

ust do it, Thou alone. 

For my own person 

; great lords of the 

jod quiet days and be 

pronounced. Ah God ! Ah God ! 
stand Thou by me against the reason 
the world ! Do Thou so l' Thou mu: 
Behold it is not my cause but thin 
1 have nothing to do here with thes 
world. Gladly would I too have got 
unperplexed. But Thine is the cause, Lord ; it is just and 
eternal. Stand Thou by me, Thou true, eternal God ? I 
confide in no man. It is to no purpose and in vain. 
Everything halteth that is fleshly, or that savoreth of flesh. 
OGod! OGod! Heareth Thou not, my God ? Art Thou 
dead f No ! Thou canst not die. Thou only hidest Thy- 
self Hast Thou chosen me for this end ? I ask Thee. 
But I know of a surety that Thou hast chosen me. Ha! 
then may God direct it. For never did I think, in all my 
life, to be opposed to such great lords ; neither have I 
intended it. Ha ! God, then stand by me in the name of 
Jesus Christ, who shall be my shelter and my shield, yea, 
my firm tower, through the might and strengthening of thy 
Ho!y Spirit, Lord ! where stayest Thou ? Thou my 
God ! where art Thou ? Come, come ! I am ready even 
to lay down my life for this cause, patient as a little lamb. 
For just is the cause and Thine, So will I not separate 

2i6 Appendix. 

myself from Thee forever. Be it determined in Thy name. 
The world shall not be able to force me against my con 
science, though it were full of Devils. And though my 
body, originally the work and creature of Thy hands, go to 
destruction in this cause — yea, though it be shattered in 
pieces — Thy word and Thy Spirit, they are good to me 
still ! It concerneth only the body. The soul is Thine 
and belongeth to Thee, and shall also remain with Thee, 
forever. Amen. God help me ! Amen. 

Portion of a Letter from Luther to Elector John of 


. . . . Hence I receive your Electoral Princely 
Grace's all too generous and gracious favor in such wise, 
that I straightway fear. For by no means would I will- 
ingly, here in this life, be found with those to whom 
Christ saith : " Wo unto you that are rich, for you have 
had your reward." Moreover, to speak after the man- 
ner of the world, I would not be burthensome to your 
Electoral Princely Grace, since I know that your Electoral 
Princely Grace hath so much of giving to do. that it may 
not have more than enough for its need. For too much 
bursts the bag. 

Wherefore, although the liver-colored cloth had been 
too much, yet, that I may be grateful to your Electoral 
Princely Grace, I will also wear the black coat in honor of 
your Electoral Princely Grace ; howbeit it is far too costly 

* Acknowledging the gift of a gown. It was the custom of the 
Elector to present Luther with a gown each year, and at times when he 
was expected to appear in great public assemblages. 

Appendix. 217 

for me, and were it not for your Electoral Princely Grace's 

gift, I could nevermore wear such a coat. 

For this cause, I entreat that your Electoral Princely 

Grace will wait until I complain and beg, myself, to the 

end that your Electoral Princely Grace's anticipation of 

my wants may not make me shy of begging for others, who 

are much more worthy of such grace. For without this 

your Electoral Princely Grace does too much for me. 

Which Christ shall graciously and richly recompense. That 

he may do so I pray from my heart. Amen. 

Your Electoral Princely Grace's 

Wittenberg, Obedient Martinus Luther. 

The 17th Aug. 1529. 

Letter to His Wife, 

To my Gracious Lady, Catherine Luther Von Bora and 
Zeilsdorf, near Wittenberg, — my Sweetheart. 

Grace and peace, my dear maid and wife ! Your Grace 
shall know that we are here, God be praised ! — fresh and 
sound ; eat like Bohemians — yet not to excess — guzzle like 
Germans — yet not much ; but are joyful. For our gracious 
Lord of Magdeburg, Bishop Amsdorf, is our mesmate. 
We know nothing new but that Doct. Caspar Mecum and 
Menius have journeyed from Hagenau to Strasburg, in the 
service and in honor of Hans von Jehnen. M. Philips is 
nice again, God be praised ! Tell my dear Doct. Shiefer, 
that his Kind Ferdinand will have a cry, as if he would 
ask the Turk to be godfather, over the Evangelical Princes. 
Hope it is not true, it would be too bad. Write me whether 
you got all that I sent you, as lately, 90 Fl. by Wolf 

2 1 8 Appendix. 

Paerman. Herewith, I commend you to God. Amen. 
And l?t the children pray. There is here such a heat and 
drought that it is unspeakable and insupportable, day and 
night. Come dear Last Day ! Amen. Friday after Mar- 
garethas, 1540. The Bishop of Magdeburg sends thee 
friendly greeting. 

Letter to Jits Wife. 

To the rich lady at Zeilsdorf, Lady Katherin Lutherin, 
bodily resident at Wittenberg, and mentally wandering at 
Zeilsdorf, — my beloved, — for her own hands. In her ab- 
sence to be broken and read by Doct. Pomeran, Preacher. 
. . Grant that we may find a good drink of beer with 
you ! For, God willing, tomorrow as Tuesday, we will set 
out for Wittenberg. It is all dung with the Diet at 
Hagenau, — pains and labor lost and expenses in vain. 
Howbeit if we have done nothing else w^e have brought M. 
Philips out of hell, and will fetch him home again, from 
the grave, with much joy, if God will, and by his grace. 
Amen. The Devil out here is himself possessed with nine 
bad devils ; he is burning and doing mischief after a 
frightful fashion. More than a thousand acres of wood in 
the Thuringian forest, belonging to my Gracious Master 
have been burned and are yet burning. Moreover there 
are tidings to-day that the forest of Werda is also on fire 
and many others besides. No attempts to quench the 
flames are of any avail. That will make wood dear. Pray 
and cause prayer to be said, against the wicked Satan, who 
seeketh, vehemently seeketh, to ruin us not only in body 
and soul but also in name and estate. May Christ our 

Appendix. 219 

Lord come from heaven and kindle a bit of fire too, for the 
Devil and his angels, that he shall not be able to quench ! 
Anaen ! I am not certain whether this letter will find you at 
Wittenberg or at Zeilsdorf, else I would have written more. 
Herewith I commend thee to God, Amen ! Greet our 
children, our boarders and all. Monday after Jacobi, 1540. 

His Last Letter to His Wife, 

To my friendly, dear Kate Luther, at Wittenberg. For 
her own hands, etc. 

Grace and Peace in the Lord ! Dear Kate, we arrived 
to-day, at eight o'clock, in Halle ; but could not proceed 
to Eisleben, for there met us a great Anabaptist with bil- 
lows of water and cakes of ice, covering the country, and 
threatening us with baptism. For the same cause we could 
not return again, on account of the Mulda ; but were 
forced to be still at Halle, between the waters. Not that 
we thirsted to drink of them. We took, instead, good 
Torgau beer and good Rhenish wine, and comforted and 
refreshed ourselves with the same, while we waited till the 
Saale should have spent her wrath. For, since the people 
and the coachmen, and we ourselves, were fearful, we did 
not wish to venture into the water and tempt God. For 
the Devil is our enemy and dwelleth in the water, and 
prevention is better than complaining, and there is no need 
to give the Pope and his officers occasion for a foolish joy. 
. . . . For the present nothing more except to bid 
thee pray for us and be good. I think if thou hadst been 
with us, thou wouldst also have counseled us to do as we 
have done. Then, for once, we had followed thy counsel. 

2 20 Appendix. 

Herewith be commended to God. Amen. Halle, on the 
day of Paul's conversion, anno, 1546. 

Martinus Luther, Doct^ 

Portion of a Letter to his Father, 

, . . . Herewith I commend you to Him who loveth 
you better than you love yourself, and hath proved his 
love in that he hath taken your sins upon himself, and paid 
with his blood, and hath given you to know the same by 

his gospel and to believe it by his Spirit The 

same, our dear Lord and Saviour be with you and by you, 
until — God grant it may come to pass here or yonder — we 
see each ether again in joy. For our faith is sure, and we 
doubt not we shall shortly see each other again with Christ ; 
seeing the departure from this life to God is much less 
than if I should come hither from you at Mansfield, or you 
should go hence from me at Wittenberg. That is true, of 
a certainty. It is but an hour of sleep, and then all shall 
be changed. 

Howbeit I hope that your pastor and preacher will 
show you richly a true service in these things, so that you 
scarce shall need my gossip — yet could I not omit to excuse 
my bodily absence, which, God knows, grieveth me from 
the heart. 

My Kate, Hanschen, Lenichen, Aunt Lehne, and the 
whole house greet you and pray for you faithfully. Greet 
my dear mother and all our friends ! 

God's Grace and Power be and remain with you for- 
ever ! Amen. Your dear Son, 

Martinus Luther. 

Wittenberg, 15th February, anno, 1530. 

Letter to his Son John. 

Grace and peace in Christ, my dear little son. 1 see 
with pleasure that thou learnest well and prayest diligently. 
Do so, my son, and continue. When I come home I will 
bring thee a pretty fairing. 

I know a pretty, merry garden wherein there are many 
children. They have little golden coats, and they gather 
beautiful apples under the trees, and pears, cherries, plums 
and wheat-plums ; they sing and jump and are merry. 
They have beautiful little horses too, with gold bits and 
silver saddles. And I asked the man to whom the garden 
belonged, whose children they were? And he said, They 
are the children that love to pray and to learn and are 
good. Then I said, Dear man, I have a son too, his name 
is Johnny Luther. May he not also come into this garden 
and eat these beautiful apples and pears, and ride these 
fine horses? Then the man said, If he loves to pray and 
to learn, and is good, he shall come into this garden and 
Lippus and Jost too, and when they all come together lliey 
shall have fifes and trumpets, lutes, and all sorts of music, 
and they shall dance and shoot with little cross-bows. 

And he showed me a fine meadow there in the garden, 
made for dancing. There, hung nothing but golden fifes, 
trumpets, and fine silver cross-bows. But it was early, and 
the children had not yet eaten ; therefore I could not wait 
the dance, and I said to the man: Ah ! dear sir! I will 
immediately go and write all this to my little son Johnny, 
and tell him to pray diligently, and to learn well, and to be 
good, so that he also may come to ihis garden. But he 

222 Appendix. 

has an Aunt Lehne, he must bring her with him. Then 
the man said, It shall be so ; go and write him so. 

Therefore, my dear little son Johnny, learn and pray 
away ! and tell Lippus and Jost too, that they must learn 
and pray. And then you shall come to the garden together. 
Herewith I commend thee to Almighty God. And greet 
Aunt Lehne and give her a kiss for my sake. 

Thy dear Father, 

Martinus Luther. 

Anno, 1530. 

To the Lady Von Siockhausen* 

To the honorable and virtuous Lady N. Von Stock- 
hausen. Captain's lady at Nordhausen, — my gracious and 
kind friend. 

Grace and peace in Christ ! Honorable and virtuous 
Lady ! I have written, in haste, a brief letter of consola- 
tion to your dear Lord. Well ! the Devil is hostile to you 
both, for that you love his enemy, Christ. You must pay 
the price of that, as he himself saith : " Because I have 
chosen you, therefore the world hateth you and the prince 
thereof; but be of good cheer." Precious, in the sight of 
God, are the sufferings of his saints. But now, in haste, I 
can write but little. Take heed before all things that you 
leave not your husband one moment alone; and let hirn 
have nothing wherewith he might do injury to himself. 
Solitude, to him, is pure poison, and therefore the Devil 

* The husband of this lady was suffering from melancholia. They 
were warm advocates of the cause of Luther and lost no opportunities 
to befriend him. 


himself driveth him to it. But it were well to tell or to 
have read in his presence, many stories, new tidings, and 
strange matter. It will not be amiss, if, at times, they are 
idle and false tidings, and tales of Turks, Tartars, and the 
like ;— if haply he may be incited thereby to laugh and to 
jest. And then, down upon him with comfortable words 
of Scripture. Whatsoever you do, let it not be lonesome 
or still about him ; that he may not sink into thought. It 
shall do no harm if he shall be made angry on account 
thereof. Pretend as if you were sorry for it, and scold, 
etc. But still do it the more. Take this in haste for want 
of better. Christ, who is the cause of such sorrow, will 
help him, as he hath lately conferred help on yourself. 
Only hold fast ! you are the apple of his eye. Whoever 
toucheth that, toucheth him. Amen ! 

Doctor Martinus Luther. 

Wiltenberg, Wednesday after Calheiinas. 1532, 

Porliim of a Letter io Chancellor Bruck. 
A letter of encouragement in relation to the cause of 
the reformer. 

To the estimable right learned Master Gregory Bruck, 
Doctor of Laws, the Elector of Saxony, his Chancellor and 
Counsellor, my gracious Master and friendly, dear Gossip, 
, , , . I saw lately two miracles. First, as I looked 
'out at the window I saw the stars in the heavens and the 
whole fair dome of God; yet did I see no pillars on which 
the Master had 'placed this dome. Nevertheless, the 
heavens fell not, and the dome stands fast yet. Now there 
are some that seek for such pillars. They would fain lay 

224 Appendix. 

hold' of and feel them. And because they cannot do this 
they struggle and tremble as though the heaven must cer- 
tainly fall, for no other reason than because they cannot 
seize or see the pillars. Could they but lay hold of these, 
the heavens would stand firm. 

Next, I saw also great thick clouds hover over us with 
such weight that they might be likened to a great sea. Yet 
I saw no floor upon which they rested or found footing 
nor any vessels in which they were contained. Still they 
fell not down upon us, but greeted us with a sour face and 
flew away. When they were gone, then shone forth both 
the floor and our roof which had held them, — the rainbow. 
That was a weak, thin, small floor and roof ; and it van- 
ished in the clouds ; and in appearance, was more like an 
image, such as is seen through a painted glass, than a 
strong floor. So that one might despair on account of the 
floor, as well as on account of the great weight of water. 
Nevertheless, it was found in truth that this Almighty 
image (such it seemed), bore the burden of the waters and 
protected us. Yet there be some who consider, regard, 
and fear the water and the thickness of the clouds and the 
heavy burden of them; more than this thin, narrow and 
light image. For they would fain feel the strength of the 
image, and because they cannot do this, they fear that the 
clouds will occasion an everlasting sin-flood. 

Thus, in friendly wise, must I jest with your Honor, 
and yet write without jesting ; for I have had special joy, 
in that I learned that your Honor hath had, before all 
others, good courage and a cheerful heart in this, our 
buffeting. I had hoped that, at the least, a pax politica 
might have been obtained, but God's thoughts are far above 

Appendix. 225 

our thoughts. And it is even right, for He, as St. Paul 
saith, heareth and doth supra quam intelliginuSy aut petinius, 
" For we know not how to pray as we ought." (Rom. viii. 
26.) If he should hear us now, after the same manner in 
which we pray, — that the emperor may give us peace, — it- 
might be infra not supra quam intelliginius^ and the em- 
peror, not God, should have the glory. 

. . . . But this work which God hath vouchsafed to 
us by his Grace, he will also bless and further by his 
Spirit. He will find way, time, and place to help us 
and will neither forget nor delay. They have not yet ac- 
complished the half of what they undertake, the viri 
sanguinius. Nor have they yet all returned to their homes, 
or whither they would go. Our rainbow is weak, their 
clouds are mighty, but in fine videbitur cryus torn. Your 
Honor will pardon my gossip and comfort magister Philip 
and all the rest. Christ shall also comfort and preserve 
nie, our most Gracious Lord. To him be praise and 
thanks in eternity ! Amen ! To His Grace I also faith- 
fully commend your Honor. 

Martinus Luther, Doct 

Ex Eremo, 5th Aug. anno, MDXXX. 

The following is Luther's will^ dated 6th fan,, 1542 .• — 

" I, the undersigned Martin Luther, doctor of divinity, 
do hereby give and grant unto my dear and faithful wife, 
Catherine, as dower to be enjoyed by her during her life, 
at her own will and pleasure, the farm of Zeilsdorf, with all 
the improvements and additions I have made thereto ; the 
house called Brun, which I purchased under the name of 

226 Appendix. 

Wolff; and all my silver goblets, and other valuables, such 
as rings, chains, gold and silver medals, etc., to the amount 
of about a thousand florins. 

" I make this disposition of my means, in the first place, 
because my Catherine has always been a gentle, pious, and 
faithful wife to me, has loved me tenderly, and has, by the 
blessing of God, given me, and brought up for me, five 
children, still, I thank God, living, besides others who are 
now dead. Secondly, that out of the said means she may 
discharge my debts, amounting to about four hundred and 
fifty florins, in the event of my not paying them myself 
before my death. In the third place, and more especially, 
because I would not have her dependent on her children, 
but rather that her children should be dependent on her — 
honoring her, and submissive to her, according to God's 
command ; and that they should not act as I have seen 
some children act, whom the devil has excited to disobey 
the ordinance of God in this respect, more particularly 
in cases where their mother has become a widow, and they 
themselves have married. I consider, moreover, that the 
mother will be the best guardian of these means in behalf 
of her children, and I feel that she will not abuse this con- 
fidence I place in her, to the detriment of those who are her 
own flesh and blood, whom she has borne in her bosom. 

"Whatever may happen to her after my death, (for I 
cannot foresee the designs of God), I have, I say, full con- 
fidence that she will ever conduct herself as a good mother 
towards her children, and will conscientiously share with 
them whatever she possesses. 

** And here I beg all my friends to testify the truth, and 
to defend my dear Catherine, should it happen as is very 

Appendix. 227 

possible, that ill tongues should charge her with retaining 
for her own private use, separate from the children, any 
money they may say I left concealed. I hereby certify that 
we have no ready money, no treasure of coin of any de- 
scription. Nor will it appear surprising to any who shall 
consider that I have had no income beyond my salary, and 
a few presents now and then, and that yet, with this limited 
revenue, we have built a good deal, and maintained a large 

" I consider it, indeed, a special favor of God, and I 
thank him daily, therefore, that we have been able to man- 
age as we have done, and that our debts are not greater 
than they are. 

" I pray my gracious lord, duke John Frederick, Elector, 
to confirm and maintain the present deed, even though it 
should not be exactly in the form required by the law. 

" Signed, Martin Luther, 

" Witnesses, Melancthon, Cruciger, Bugenhagen.*' 

[Luther's entire personal property, including many gifts 
of silver mugs, rings, etc., amounted to less than $1000, of 
which he owed $400. The original will was presented by 
the arch-duchess Maria Dorothea, to the Evangelical Church 
of Hungary, where it is now preserved among the archives. 
In 1878 it was critically examined by experts, to confirm its 
genuineness. In 1879, Luther's wedding ring bearing the 
inscription, " Dr. Martino Luthero, Catharina Von Bora, 
13th June, 1525," was sold by Herr Rothe, a jeweller of 
Dusseldorf. On the ring is a representation of the passion 
of our Lord, the cross and the body of Jesus forming the 
middle surrounded by tools of the carpenter's craft, a small 

228 Appendix. 

ruby representing the blood upon his side. At the time of 
his death Luther owned the convent of his order in Wit- 
tenberg, given him by Elector Frederick, also a house in 
the same city and the small farm at Zeilsdorf. This con- 
stituted the principle part of his estate. Nearly all of 
Luther's Silverware, ornaments and cups, have been pre- 
served in places where they may be seen by the curious. 
More especially in the museums of his own vicinity. 

Appendix. 229 


For the convenience of those who may desire a 
further acquaintance with this subject, I submit here- 
with this list of a portion of the books used in gather- 
ing my own materials. Of Luther*s public controver- 
sies the published reports in German and Latin are 
very complete. Few of them have been rendered di- 
rectly from the originals into the English ; most of our 
prints being from the French, the native idiom is lost, 
somewhat, in consequence. There is a quaintness, 
singularity and force in the men and methods of Lu- 
ther's time which it is difficult to convey in another 
language ; a severity of emphasis and significance of 
action which can scarcely be put upon paper. 


Luther, Life of, from the French of M. Michelet, trans- 
lated by Wm. Hazlitt. Pub. by J. G. Bohn 

Luther, A monograph by Bunsen, being a reprint from 
the Encyc. Brit. 

Luther, Life of Martin, 2 vols., by Henry Worslcy. 
Out of print, but sometimes obtainable. | 

Luther's Table Talk, from the German of Lautcrbach 
and Aurifaber, by Wm. Hazlitt. Pub. by J. 
G. Bohn. 

230 Appendix. 

Luther, Martin,^/;/ Lebensbild Entworsen, von August 
Baur, Tubingen, 1878. 

Luther, Vie de, par M. Audin, Edition Francais, 
1839. The same translated by W. B. Turn- 
bull ; 2 vols. London, 1854. Out of print. 

Luther's Hymns of the Reformation. From the Ger- 
man original, with life from the Latin of Me- 
lancthon. Gilpin, London, 1845. O^^ of 

Prose writers of Germany by Hodge. Porter & Coates, 


/, Ranke, Leopold, History of the Reformation in Ger- 
many. Translated by Sarah Austin. Pub- 
lished by Lea and Blanchard, 1844. An un- 
satisfactory edition, having no index. 

Kohlrausch, Frederick, History of Germany. Trans- 
lated by J. D. Haas. N. Y., D. Appleton & 

D*Aubigne, H. M., History of the Reformation. 

Menzel, Wolfgang, History of Germany. 



Vita Lutheri — P. Melancthon, Leipsic. Several edi- 

Appendix. 231 

Vita Melancthonis, J. Camerarius ; Leipsic and Lon- 
don. Several editions. 

Historia Lutheranisimu 

Veit Ludwig von Seckendorf. Leipsic, several editions 
One of the most valuable pertaining to this 

Commentaria de actis et Scriptis M, Lutkerii, 

Johann Cochlaeus. After Trutfetter and Dr. Eck, Lu- 
ther's most persistent opponent. This book 
contains the foundation of his arguments. 

Life of Dr, Luther, A. Bower. 1808. 

Leben & Wirken, Dr, M. Luther. H. Mueller. 18 17. 

Luther s Leben, Ukert. 18 13. 

Letters of Martin Luther, Martin Leberecht de 

Wette, Berlin. 1826. 


AccoLTi, Cardinal, 109. 

Aleander, Cardinal, no, in, 114, 115, 179 ; obtains censure of Luiher 

by fraud, 129. 
Aix la Chapelle, 5. 
Albert, Count, 165. 
Albert of Brandenburg, 178. 

Albert of Mainz, 71 ; his profit from Indulgences, 76. 
Albert's Rhyming Prayer, 6. 
Amsdorf, Nicholas von, 117, 130, 151, 157. 
Aristotle's philosophy distasteful to Luther, 45 ; its influence on 

him, 46 ; similarity of Aristotle and Luther, 46. 
Arnoldi, 23. 
Ascham, 90. 

Athletes, respect gained by, 4. 
Augsburg, 83, 92, 93, 98, 99, i57» 158. 
Augsburg Diet in 1530, 3. 
Augustine monastery at Heidelberg, 86. 

Bare-footed CARMELiTfes, 22. 

Bamim, Duke of Pomerania, 106. 

Basle Press, loi, 106. 

Bible, the charter of civilization, 8 ; kept within the Vatican, 8. 

Bibliography of works relating to Luther, 229-231. 

Bigand, John, 24. 

Boehme, Jacob, at the head of Philosophers of his time, 183. 

Bodenstein, Andrew, 62. 

Bora, Catherine von, wife of Luther, 150 ; marriage, 153. 

Bramanti, 56. 

Brandenburg, Bishop of, 100. 

Bucer, 157. 

Index. 233 

Bull of Excommunication, 98 ; prepared at Rome, 109; signed by 
the Pope, no; difficulty in posting it, in ; publicly burned by 
Luther, in. 

Cajetan demands retraction from Lather, 82, 83 ; his ambition and 

pomp, 94, 95, 96 ; hesitates to destroy Luther, 98. 
CalliKtus, 56. 
Carlstadt, 66, 83, 87; unequal opponent to Dr. Eck, 107; leads 

reform movement at Wittenberg, 134 ; contempt for Luther's 

remonstrance, 136 ; in disgrace, 144. 
Carlyle's translation of Albert's Prayer, 6. 
Charles of Austria, elected Emperor (Charles V) of Germany, 104 ; 

presides over Diet at Worms, 121 ; calls meeting of Protestants 

at Augsburg, 3,6, 157; discreet and dignified monarch, 160; 

conditions he was obliged to sign, 176 ; rebukes proposition to 

bum Luther's bones, 181 ; forbids proscription of Lutheran 

form of worship, i8i. 
Christ, religion of, meant to win obedience of men, 10. 
" Christian Liberty," German rallying cry, 102. 
Clement VL, 96. 
Clergy, deplorably ignorant, 47 ; senselessness of their prayers and 

preaching, 47. 
Cochlaeus, 69, 123, 138. 
Cplumbus* opinion of money, 70. 
Constance, Council of, 107. 
Copernicus, 167. 

Corpus Christi day, protest against performances, 3. 
Coster, 8. 

Cotta, Ursula, 22, 118, 151. 
Council of Constance, 107. 
Cranach, Lucas, engraver, 150 ; his the best portrait of Luther, 25 ; 

Luther's life-long friend, 151. 
Crecy, 3, 12. 

Darmstadt, 84. 

De Vip, Thomas, see Cajetan. 

Diet at Worms, see Worms. 

234 Index. 

Diets, description of, 120, 179. 

Dominican friars, 13. 

Dressel, Michael, controversy with Luther, 61. 

DUrer, Albert, 102, 167 ; Luther's admiration for, 15a 

EcK, Dr., vigorous opponent of Luther, 80, 82 ; disputation with 
Luther, 106, 107, 108 ; public opinion against his arguments, 
108 ; strength of his opposition, 109 ; prepares bull of excom- 
munication, 109 ; presents charges against Luther at Diet at 
Worms, 122. 

Erasmus, 9, 16, 86, 87, loi, 141, 167, 182 ; his translation of Homer, 
39. 68. 

Erfurt monastery, 30, 89. 

Faust, 8, 18. 

Fischart, Johann, compared to author of Hudibras, 183. 

France advances one hundred thousand livres to Rome, 66. 

Francis L, 5, 9. 

Francis of Sickingen, espouses cause of Luther, 103 ; expedition 
against Bishop of Treves, 103. 

Frank, Sebastian, 182. 

Frankfort, 91. 

** Fratres Ignorantia," 42. 

Frederick, Elector of Saxony, establishes Wittenberg University i^ 
1502, 36 ; strong friend of Luther, 62, 81, 83, 87, 90, 122 ; for- 
bids sale of indulgences, 71 ; his curious dream, 74 ; a man of 
weight and resolution, 90 ; insists that Luther be tried in Ger- 
many, 91 ; his protection of Luther, 91 ; casts deciding vote in 
election of Emperor, 104 ; appointed regent, 105 ; hides Luther 
in Wartburg castle, 132 ; sends Dr. Scharff to re-arrest Luther, 
• 137 ; his death, 153 ; himself the real choice for emperor, 176. 

Fugger of Augsburg, 66, 109. 

George, Duke of Saxony, interdicts Luther's Bible translation, 
138 ; indecision of character, 156; foolish attempt at armed con- 
test, 161. 

German Prince for German soil, 5. 

Index. 235 

German Theology, Book of. 60. 

Germans, a race of workers, 2 ; serious, thinking people, 3 ; nut- 
headed and bull-necked, 3 ; trust in final triumph of principle, 
3 ; love of liberty, 6 ; good morals effect more than good laws, 
II ; nation of heroes, 12 ; inflexibility, equilibrium, integrity 
of character, 12 ; rapidly e;{Lcelling in music, 14 ; of rude exterior 
and forcible speech, 18. 

Germany, an attendant on the Pope, 2 ; cockpit of the world, 2 ; 
galled by the Pope, 5 ; regnant Prince must reside there, 5 ; 
public disfavor at gratuitous patronage, 5 ; its contributions to 
enrich Italy, 7 ; protest against them, 7 ; takes exception to 
dictation of Rome, 11 ; waiting anxiously for the coming man, 
17 ; superstition in regard to Italy, 50 ; increasingly opposed to 
centralization at Rome, 78 ; national pride, 81 ; under peculiar 
disadvantages, loi. ' 

Glapion, 120. 

Goethe, 4. 

Golden Rose offered to the Elector Frederick, 100. 

Gospels, symmetrical and simple story, 10;' final meaning cannot 
be pronounced, 10 ; translated into German, 13. 

Grevenstein, John, 23. 

Hecker, Gerard, 23. 
Heidelberg, 83, 84. 

Heidelberg castle, residence of Duke of Bavaria, 86. 
Henry VIII., 139. 

Hochstraten, James, enters lists against Luther, 78. 
Horoscopy widely practised, 27. 
Hugo, Bishop of Constantine, 64. 
Huss, John, 14, 121. 

Hutten, Ulrich von, 99 ; remarkable ability, 103 ; powerful adherent 
of Luther, 103 ; his indiscretion, no ; his satires, 182. 

Independence, growing spirit of, in Germany, 112. 

Index ExpurgatoriuSy 9. 

Indulgence, copy of one, 187. 

Indulgences, sale of, means of revenue to Rome, 66 ; forbidden in 

236 Index. 

Spain by Ximenes, 66 ; in Saxony by Frederick, 71 ; pardon for 

any crime purchased, 71. 
Intelligence, increase of, 4. 
Irensus, Bishop of Lyons, 10. 

Joachim of Brandenburg, 71, 129 ; advocates sale of indulgen. 

ces, 71. 
Johann at Crecy, 3, 12. ^ 

John the Steadfast, motto on his banner, 6. 
John, Duke of Saxony, 117. 
John, Elector of Saxony, 153 ; takes Luther to Coburg, 158 ; attends 

Protestant meeting at Augsburg, 158. 
John of Leyden, 162. 
Jonas, Dr., 165. 
Jovius, 8. 
Juggernaut, 8. 
Jiiterbogk, 70. 

Kaiser Karl at Aug^urg Diet, 3, 6. 
Koch, Conrad, Champion of Tetzel, 78. 

Landgrave of Hesse, proposes a council, 157. 

Lange, Dr., 86, 89, 106. 

Langemantel, 99. 

Language of the Court, German or Latin, 5, 12. 

Last things must be best, 9. 

Latin Psalmody introduced into Germany by Charles, 14. 

Lavater, 4. 

League of Protestant Princes at Schmalkald, 160. 

Leffler, jester to Duke of Bavaria, 119. 

Leipsic, 91. 

Leo X., Pope, see Pope Leo X. 

Lessing, 4. 

Liberty, love for in Germany, 3. 

Linck, 93 ; appointed mediator by Cajetan. 

Literature once planted is invincible, 9. 

Lupinus, Peter, 66. 

Luthei. Hans or JoUn, falher of Martin, from upper Saxony, jg ; 
miner in Eisleben, 3o ; moves lo Mansfeld, 20 ; becomes tovm 
councillor, 20; his character, so: chagrin at his son's becoming 
a monk, 31 ; peisistenl anger at the choice. 33 ; is piesenl at 
Martin's ordination, 34; expression of bitter disappointment, 
35 : parting gift of 20 florins, 35 ; de^lh, 164, 

Lulher, Martin, is born (1483), 19 ; his parents, 20 ; severity of early 
training at borne and at school, 20. 21 ; at six years of age at 
Eisenach school, as ; assisted by Uisnla Colta, 32 ; stadios 
under Trehonius at Erfurt University, 23 ; takes degree {150a), 
33 ; not a recluse, 24 ; variety ot amusements ; delight in music 
25 ; portrait by Cranach, 2g ; personal appearance, 2J ; victim 
ofoversludy, 25; struck by lightning, 2B ; becomes a monk, 281 
books that absorbed him, 28 ; precocious in scholarship, 29 ; 
Occam's "Questions and Decisions," 30; enters monastery at 
Erfurt (age 22), 30; assumes name of Augustine, 32 ; constant 
reading of works of Si. Augustine, 32 ; sends back his uni- 
versity gown and ring, 32 ; letter 10 his faiher, 33 ; trials and 
drudgery of his novitiate, 34; is ordained (ago 24), 34; sud- 
den fear at the altar, 3s : confinement telling on his strength, 
36; called 10 professorship at Wittenberg (age 25), 36 ; acquaint- 
ance with Dr. Slaupitz, 37 ; terror at the Sacrament, 37 ; cease- 
less praying. 38 ; feeling of personal responsibility, 41 ; Ihc two 
Triais, 42 ; his high ideal, 43 ; foremost orator of his lime, 43 ; 
given to melancholy and solitude, 43, his opinion of theology, 
44 ; power and vigor of his lecturing, 44 ; Tauier's sermons, 45 ; 
Iheir influence on Lulher, 48 ; disiasie tor Aristotle's philosophy, 
45 ; influence of Aristotle upon Luther, 45 ; Aristotle and 
Lulher compared, 46 ; Luther's teachings denounced by Tnil- 
feller, 40; sent to Rome by Staupiiz, 49; his journey, so; 
belief in magic and wilchcrafl, 51 ; reception at Milan convent. 
51 ; condemns the luxury there, 51 ; 111 al Pavia, 52 ; his saluta- 
tion to Rome, 52 * enlhusiasm over its glories, 54 ; cold Ireat- 
meat, j6 ; disgust at licentiousness in Rome, ss ; delighl al Ihe 
art. 56; returns lo Witieoberg. 57 ; his power of diplomacy, 
6a; nol to t>e judged through translations. 61 : controversy with 
Dressol, 61 ; refuses to fly during small-pox epidemic, 62 ; made 

238 Index. 

Doctor of Divinity (age 29), 62 ; thorough Bible student, 63 ; 
condemns laxity of clergy in preaching the Bible, 64 ; respect 
shown for his philosophy and theology, 66 ; his mysticism, 66 ; 
first sermon in German, 67 ; its strength and originality, 67 ; 
remarkable audiences for his preaching, 67 ; studies Greek and 
Hebrew, 68 ; physical strength and earnestness, 69 ; his ninety- 
five propositions against indulgences, 73 ; epitome of these pro- 
positions, 188-191 ; letter to Archbishop of Mainz, 76 ; Sermon 
on All Saints Day, 77, 192 ; his regret at storm he had raised, 
79 ; writes to Pope Leo, 80 ; emphatic replies to his abusers, 82 ; 
designs to put him out of the way, 84 ; his enemy becomes a 
friend, 85, 86 ; guest of Duke of Bavaria, 86 ; maintains dispu- 
tation against five divines, 86 ; impression produced, compared 
to Erasmus, 86 ; his friendship with Melancthon, 87, 88 ; gen- 
eral surprise at the strength and dignity of his friends, 88 ; seeks 
in vain to allay the tumult, 89 ; protected by Frederick, 91 ; 
letter to Spalatin, 92 ; journey to Augsburg, 92 ; preaches at 
Weimar, 93 ; letter to Melancthon, 93 ; urged to recant by 
* Urban, 94 ; retraction demanded by Cajetan, 95, 96 ; letter to 

' Cajetan, 96, 97 ; ordered to leave Augsburg, 97 ; the attempts 

to get him into custody, 99 ; leaves Augsburg at midnight, 99 ; 
\ feeble health, 100 ; penitent letter to the Pope, 105 ; burned in 

\ ef^gy at Rome, 105 ; disputation with Eck at Leipsic, 106, 107, 

, 108 ; his delivery and argument, 107 ; influence of Melancthon 

I on Luther, 108 ; writings discussed by a conference at Rome, 

I 109; bull of excommunication prepared, no; ill at Wittenberg, 

I no; burns the Pope's bull December 10, 1520, in ; most of the 

electors favor Luther, 113 ; appeals to Charles V. for protection, 
113; summoned before Diet at Worms, 114; his "Address to 
the Nobles," 115, 193 j officious advisers, n6 ; triumphal jour- 
ney to Worms, 116, 117, 118, his cause that of all Germany, 120 ; 
before the Diet, 122, 123, 124, 125, 126 ; emphatic refusal to re- 
tract, 125 ; vote of censure obtained by the fraud of Aleander, 
129; hidden in Wartburg castle by Frederick, 131 ; excitement 
caused by his disappearance, 132 ; his enjoyment of study at 
Wartburg, 133 ;* superstitious fancies, 134; returns to Witten- 
berg, 136; physical change, 136; his Bible translation inter- 

dieted by Duke Geoige, 13B ; the master of European Ihoughl, 
140 ; his good humor, 140 ; extenl of his wtitings, 142 ; address 
to nobles and peasants, 143; intercedes for Carlatadt, 144; 
estrangement from Erasraus, 146 ; attacks Erasmus and other 
former friends, 146 ; bis povert7, 149, tjo ; admiration for DUrcr 
and Cranach, 150 ; love for music, iji ; his remarkable Tcrsa- 
tilily, isz ; social character, 153 ; marriage, 153; children. 153, 
154, 163, severe illness, 155; disputation at Matburg, 157; 
lakeii lo Coburg, 158 ; his translations of jEsop and the Psalms, 
I5g ; composes his great h;ymn, 159: opposes policy of concilia- 
lion, 159; exultation at adoption of piotestanl piofessioa of 
faith, 160 ; his waniog strength, physical and mental, 163 ; his 
Table Tali, 164 ; letters ID his wife, 164, 217, zi8, 219 ; his last 
sickness, 165 ; last words, r66 ; death (age 63) February 17. 1546, 
166 ; compared to his co temporaries, 167 ; his life and work, 
16S-171 ; greatness of his influence, 170, 183, 184 ; extracts from 
various discourses, 197-21 3 ; extracts from his letters, 216, aao, 
S27 ; amount of his personal property, 227 ; his will, 227 ; his 
nedding ring, 227 ; bibliography of literature relating to him, 

Lutheran party, 156; want of organization, 156; meeting at Torgau, 
158 ; conference at Eisleben, 165. 

ViMR. Dr. John, see Eck. ■ 

Mahhesius, the chronicler, 120. 

Marguerite's two services, g. 

Markgraf George at Augsburg Diet, 3, 6. 

Malthusen, John, 162. 

Maximilian, Bi, 17S ; aspires to Papal chair, 90; lays foundation of 
German independence, 177 ; death, 102, 

Melancthon, life-long and intimate friend of Luther, S3, 106, 170; 
lecturer at Tubingen university, 38 ; letter from Luther, 93 ; 
his two tre.tlises on authority of the scriptures, loS ; close 
adviser of Luther, loS ; too young 10 resist induence of Carl- 
sladt, r3s : again with Luther, 137 ; favors the peasants in their 
insurrection, 144; his testimony as to Luther's private life, 151; 
leader of the Protestants, 158; urges conciliation, 159; draws 

240 Index. 

up Protestant profession of faith, 160; it is agreed upon, 160; 

his opinion of Luther, 170. 
Men of necessity develop and improve, 8. 
Michael Angelo, 53, 57- 
Milan convent, luxurious living there, 51. 
Miltenburg, 84. 
Miltitz, 99, 100, 105, 106. 
Motto of John the Steadfast, 6. 
MUnster, excesses in, 162. 

MUnzer, Dr. Thomas, leader of peasant's insurrection, 144. 
Muth, Conrad, Canon of Gotha, a patron of Poetry, 38. 
Mystics and Vendois, 15. 

National quality showing itself, 5. 
Nuremberg, 89, 93. 


Odenwald, 84. 

Otfried of Weisenburg translates gospels into German, 13. 

Pack, Otto, forges signature of Duke George, 155. 

Papal ambassadors forced to sign conditions, 5. 

Peasants' insurrection, 142-145; one hundred thousand people 

perish in it, 145. 
Perugino, 56. 

Pliny, his description of German trees, 16. 
Pope Julius II., 53. 

Pope Leo X., 65, 78, 97 ; signs bull excommunicating Luther, no. 
Popular truth invincible, 7. 
Portrait of Luther by Cranach, 25. 
Post-Lutheran Germany, 174. 
Printer's ink vanquishes chivalry, 10. 
Public opinion powerless before progressive thought, 4 ; favoring 

advance of the whole people, 5. 
Public disfavor at gratuitous patronage, 5. 

Qualities necessary to the comihg man, 4. 

Index. 241 

Raphael, 53, 56. 

Reformation, only one of many, 9 ; a sequence of reformations, 9 ; 
another name for exaltation, 12. 

"Reformer's Elm," 118. 

Reuchlin, 16, 78. 88, 167, 182. 

Revolution, meaning of, 7. 

Rhabanus Maurus, 13. 

Rhyming Prayer of Albert, 6. 

Roman arbitration over Germany begins to slacken, 102. 

Roman Party, exultation at Luther's death, 182. 

Romans apply to Frederick for possession of Luther, 99. 

Rome, luxury, corruption and licentiousness ip, 3, 149 ; all roads 
leading to, 7 ; tribute from every hand, 7 ; dispensing indul- 
gences, 7 ; secular dictation, 9 ; logic of Roman authority, 10 ; 
ecclesiastical Court, 10 ; alarm at the awakening spirit of Ger- 
many, 109. 

Romish Church, 10. 

Sachs, Hans, the cobbler boy, 16 ; song of the " Nightingale of 

Wittenberg," Ii6. 
Sacramentarians, 155, 157. 
Scheurl, Christian, 89. 
Schiller, 4. 

Schmalkald league of Protestant princes, 160. 
Scholars, popular reverence for, 90. 
Seneca, 18. 


Small-pox epidemic in Wittenberg, 62. 

Sodoma, 56. 

Spalatin, George, 65, 68, 87, 92, 132, 151. 

Spirit of innovation, attributed to position of the stars, 8. 

St. Ann, 28. 

Stadium, Christopher, 64. 

Staupitz, Dr., Vicar-general of Erfurt, 37; attempts to console 
Luther, 38 ; piety, learning and farsightedness, 39 ; liberal and 
outspoken, 47 ; his breach with the convents, 47 ; sends Luther 
to Rome, 47 ; warns Luther against condemning -sale of indul- 
gences, 72 ; guest of Duke of Bavaria, 80 ; appointed mediator 

242 Index. 

by Cajetan, 96 ; assists Luther to leave Augsburg, 99 ; declines 

the "Golden Rose," 100. 
Sturm, IT7, 131. 
Swiss Confederation, 64. 

Table-Talk of Luther, 164. 

Tacitus on character of the Germans, 11. 

Tauler, John, 45, 87, 169 ; influence of his sermons, 48, 68 ; the- 
ology, 60. 

Tetzel, John, commissioner of the Pope, 70, 71 ; severely beaten, 
72 ; called by Luther ** servant of the Pope and the devil,'* 73 ; 
burns Luther's propositions at Frankfort, 75 ; enlists Koch and 
Wimpina as his champions, 78 ; his malevolence, 80; sends his 
theses to Wittenberg, 89 ; they are burned, 89. 

Thttringen, 16, 144. 

Tiberian hound, 5. 

Titian, 56. 

Trebonius, 22, 166. 

Trutfetter, Jodocus, 23; Luther's old tutor, 49; denounces teach- 
ings of Luther and Staupitz, 49 ; last important adherent of 
Papal dictation in Germany, 61 ; removed, 66. 

Tubingen University, 88, 93. 

Turkey convenient enemy of Rome, 70. 

Unigenitus of Clement VL, 96. 

Universities, tribunals for decisions of questions of science and 

letters, 36. 
Urban di Sierra Longa, 94. 

Vatican Court, vices of, 11. 

Vehus, chancellor of Baden, his conciliatory discourse, 128. 

Verbum Diabolic etc.y motto of John the Steadfast , 6. 

Von Berlichingen, Goetz, and the peasant's insurrection, 142, 143. 

Wallenstein, 149. 

Wartburg castle, 131 ; Luther hidden there, 131. 

Index. 243 

Wieland, 4. 

William of Occam admired by Luther, 29 ; opposes Papal usurpa- 
tion, 30 ; his Questions and Decisions ^ 30. 

Wimpina, champion of Tetzel, 78. 

Wittenberg, 88, 89, 106, no; small-pox epidemic, 62; excitement 
over Luther's propositions, 74 ; the theatre of events, 90. 

Wittenberg university established, 36 ; inclined to exercise of free 
will, 38. 

Wolfgang, Duke of Bavaria, 86. 

Worms, Diet at, 12, 114 ; its organization, 121. 

XiMENES, refuses loan to Rome, 65 ; interdicts sale of indulgences 
in Spain, 66 ; wants money for himself, 78. 

Zeilsdorf, 153. 

Zwickau prophets, 135, 137. 

Zwinglius, 157.